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PLoS One. 2009;4(3):e4909. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0004909. Epub 2009 Mar 17.

The spatial and temporal construction of confidence in the visual scene.

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Physics Department, Integrative Neuroscience Laboratory, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Human subjects can report many items of a cluttered field a few hundred milliseconds after stimulus presentation. This memory decays rapidly and after a second only 3 or 4 items can be stored in working memory. Here we compared the dynamics of objective performance with a measure of subjective report and we observed that 1) Objective performance beyond explicit subjective reports (blindsight) was significantly more pronounced within a short temporal interval and within specific locations of the visual field which were robust across sessions 2) High confidence errors (false beliefs) were largely confined to a small spatial window neighboring the cue. The size of this window did not change in time 3) Subjective confidence showed a moderate but consistent decrease with time, independent of all other experimental factors. Our study allowed us to asses quantitatively the temporal and spatial access to an objective response and to subjective reports.

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