Poster C97, Sunday, March 26, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
Confidence in recognition memory can be inferred from response pressure without explicit instruction
Josephine A. Urquhart1, Akira R. O'Connor1; 1University of St Andrews
The neural mechanisms underlying recognition confidence have typically been investigated using explicit instructions, with participants intentionally rating this subjective sensation using discrete numerical scales. However, recent research indicates that confidence is supported by multiple processes. Notably there appears to be a dissociation between: I) primary confidence, the automatic driving force behind a recognition decision outcome, initiated without conscious reflection and II) secondary confidence, which arises after temporally extended metacognitive evaluation post-decision. We aimed to develop an intuitive methodology in order to more effectively record primary confidence. We designed a novel measurement technique, which could be deployed without explicit instruction. In one experiment (n=26), naïve participants rendered old/new word recognition decisions using two buttons. The pressure exerted on these buttons was taken as an alternative measure of response confidence. Results show elevated pressure corresponds to increased accuracy likelihood. Further analysis validated the novel technique, demonstrating the pressure/accuracy relationship captured participant-wise nuances in recollection- and familiarity- based responding consistent with those recorded using a standard discrete numerical scale. Overall, our findings support multiple process accounts of confidence, showing it can be measured concurrently with a recognition decision without requiring explicit self-reflection. In contrast to discrete scales, our novel measurement technique also offers rich temporal information across a single response trial, providing potential insight into evidence accumulation and changes of mind, as well as the resolution and calibration of confidence to accuracy. Accordingly, we suggest it could complement neuroimaging methodologies, aiding the isolation of neural mechanisms supporting confidence-based memory-search and decision-making processes.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Episodic