Samuel Recht

BA, MA, MSc, PhD

Fyssen Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Summary

My research focuses on the behavioral and neuronal mechanisms of attention, metacognition and learning.

One topic of interest is the role of attention in shaping metacognition during perception. Metacognition can be assessed in the lab by relating subjective confidence  to objective accuracy. Intuitively, paying attention should lead to higher confidence, but empirically this is not always the case. Dissociations between objective and subjective performance provide interesting insights for our understanding of the brain, by suggesting the existence of partially segregated functional routes for perceptual decision and metacognition.

My second area of interest is the relation between metacognition and curiosity. Curiosity is apparent from our daily distractions — our appetite for solving puzzles; our search for answers to trivia questions, and our desire for suspense in literature — to academic research itself. Curiosity can be defined as a craving for information itself, distinct from the instrumental value of information in helping to achieve a pre-defined goal. I’m particularly interested in how metacognition might allow for trade-offs between instrumental and curiosity-driven learning.