A post-decisional neural marker of confidence predicts information-seeking in decision-making
Desender K., Murphy P., Boldt A., Verguts T., Yeung N.
<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>Theoretical work predicts that decisions made with low confidence should lead to increased information-seeking. This is an adaptive strategy because it can increase the quality of a decision, and previous behavioral work has shown that decision-makers engage in such confidence-driven information seeking. The present study aimed to characterize the neural markers that mediate the relationship between confidence and information-seeking. A paradigm was used in which human participants made an initial perceptual decision, and then decided whether or not they wanted to sample more evidence before committing to a final decision and confidence judgment. Pre-decisional and post-decisional ERP components were similarly modulated by the level of confidence and by information-seeking choices. Time-resolved multivariate decoding of scalp EEG signals first revealed that information-seeking choices could be decoded from the time of the initial decision to the time of the subsequent information-seeking choice (within-condition decoding). No above-chance decoding was visible in the pre-response time window. Crucially, a classifier trained to decode high versus low confidence predicted information-seeking choices after the initial perceptual decision (across-condition decoding). This time window corresponds to that of a post-decisional neural marker of confidence. Collectively, our findings demonstrate for the first time that neural indices of confidence are functionally involved in information-seeking decisions.</jats:p>