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When making discrimination decisions between two stimulus categories, subjective confidence judgments are more positively affected by evidence in support of a decision than negatively affected by evidence against it. Recent theoretical proposals suggest that this "positive evidence bias" may be due to observers adopting a detection-like strategy when rating their confidence-one that has functional benefits for metacognition in real-world settings where detectability and discriminability often go hand in hand. However, it is unknown whether, or how, this evidence-weighting asymmetry affects detection decisions about the presence or absence of a stimulus. In four experiments, we first successfully replicate a positive evidence bias in discrimination confidence. We then show that detection decisions and confidence ratings paradoxically suffer from an opposite "negative evidence bias" to negatively weigh evidence even when it is optimal to assign it a positive weight. We show that the two effects are uncorrelated and discuss our findings in relation to models that account for a positive evidence bias as emerging from a confidence-specific heuristic, and alternative models where decision and confidence are generated by the same, Bayes-rational process.

Original publication




Journal article


Atten Percept Psychophys

Publication Date





2356 - 2385


Confidence, Detection, Metacognition, Humans, Judgment, Bayes Theorem, Decision Making, Metacognition, Bias