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Neuron. 2014 Aug 20;83(4):797-804. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.07.011. Epub 2014 Aug 7.

Effects of cortical microstimulation on confidence in a perceptual decision.

Author information

1
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Neuroscience and Kavli Institute for Brain Science, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.
2
Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York, NY 10003, USA.
3
Department of Neurobiology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
4
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Neuroscience and Kavli Institute for Brain Science, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA. Electronic address: shadlen@columbia.edu.

Erratum in

  • Neuron. 2014 Oct 1;84(1):239.

Abstract

Decisions are often associated with a degree of certainty, or confidence--an estimate of the probability that the chosen option will be correct. Recent neurophysiological results suggest that the central processing of evidence leading to a perceptual decision also establishes a level of confidence. Here we provide a causal test of this hypothesis by electrically stimulating areas of the visual cortex involved in motion perception. Monkeys discriminated the direction of motion in a noisy display and were sometimes allowed to opt out of the direction choice if their confidence was low. Microstimulation did not reduce overall confidence in the decision but instead altered confidence in a manner that mimicked a change in visual motion, plus a small increase in sensory noise. The results suggest that the same sensory neural signals support choice, reaction time, and confidence in a decision and that artificial manipulation of these signals preserves the quantitative relationship between accumulated evidence and confidence.

Comment in

PMID:
25123306
PMCID:
PMC4141901
DOI:
10.1016/j.neuron.2014.07.011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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