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Sci Adv. 2018 May 30;4(5):eaaq0668. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aaq0668. eCollection 2018 May.

Two sides of the same coin: Monetary incentives concurrently improve and bias confidence judgments.

Author information

1
Amsterdam Brain and Cognition, Universiteit van Amsterdam, 1018 WB Amsterdam, Netherlands.
2
Center for Research in Experimental Economics and Political Decision Making, Amsterdam School of Economics, Universiteit van Amsterdam, 1018 WB Amsterdam, Netherlands.
3
Amsterdam Institute for Addiction Research, Academic Medical Centre, 1100 DD Amsterdam, Netherlands.
4
Department of Psychiatry, Academic Medical Centre, 1100 DD Amsterdam, Netherlands.
5
Department of Pediatrics, Emma Kinderziekenhuis, Academic Medical Centre, 1100 DD Amsterdam, Netherlands.
6
Arkin Mental Health Care, 1070 AV Amsterdam, Netherlands.
7
Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, Institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1105 BA Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Abstract

Decisions are accompanied by a feeling of confidence, that is, a belief about the decision being correct. Confidence accuracy is critical, notably in high-stakes situations such as medical or financial decision-making. We investigated how incentive motivation influences confidence accuracy by combining a perceptual task with a confidence incentivization mechanism. By varying the magnitude and valence (gains or losses) of monetary incentives, we orthogonalized their motivational and affective components. Corroborating theories of rational decision-making and motivation, our results first reveal that the motivational value of incentives improves aspects of confidence accuracy. However, in line with a value-confidence interaction hypothesis, we further show that the affective value of incentives concurrently biases confidence reports, thus degrading confidence accuracy. Finally, we demonstrate that the motivational and affective effects of incentives differentially affect how confidence builds on perceptual evidence. Together, these findings may provide new hints about confidence miscalibration in healthy or pathological contexts.

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