Re-evaluating frontopolar and temporoparietal contributions to detection and discrimination confidence.
Mazor M., Gong C., Fleming SM.
Previously, we identified a subset of regions where the relation between decision confidence and univariate functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) activity was quadratic, with stronger activation for both high and low compared with intermediate levels of confidence. We further showed that, in a subset of these regions, this quadratic modulation appeared only for confidence in detection decisions about the presence or absence of a stimulus, and not for confidence in discrimination decisions about stimulus identity (Mazor et al. 2021). Here, in a pre-registered follow-up experiment, we sought to replicate our original findings and identify the origins of putative detection-specific confidence signals by introducing a novel asymmetric-discrimination condition. The new condition required discriminating two alternatives but was engineered such that the distribution of perceptual evidence was asymmetric, just as in yes/no detection. We successfully replicated the quadratic modulation of subjective confidence in prefrontal, parietal and temporal cortices. However, in contrast with our original report, this quadratic effect was similar in detection and discrimination responses, but stronger in the novel asymmetric-discrimination condition. We interpret our findings as weighing against the detection-specificity of confidence signatures and speculate about possible alternative origins of a quadratic modulation of decision confidence.