The Neurobiology of Confidence: From Beliefs to Neurons

Ott, T., Masset, P., Kepecs, A. (July 2018) The Neurobiology of Confidence: From Beliefs to Neurons. Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol, 83. pp. 9-16. ISSN 0091-7451

DOI: 10.1101/sqb.2018.83.038794


How confident are you? As humans, aware of our subjective sense of confidence, we can readily answer. Knowing your level of confidence helps to optimize both routine decisions such as whether to go back and check if the front door was locked and momentous ones like finding a partner for life. Yet the inherently subjective nature of confidence has limited investigations by neurobiologists. Here, we provide an overview of recent advances in this field and lay out a conceptual framework that lets us translate psychological questions about subjective confidence into the language of neuroscience. We show how statistical notions of confidence provide a bridge between our subjective sense of confidence and confidence-guided behaviors in nonhuman animals, thus enabling the study of the underlying neurobiology. We discuss confidence as a core cognitive process that enables organisms to optimize behavior such as learning or resource allocation and that serves as the basis of metacognitive reasoning. These approaches place confidence on a solid footing and pave the way for a mechanistic understanding of how the brain implements confidence-based algorithms to guide behavior.

Item Type: Paper
Subjects: organism description > animal behavior
organism description > animal behavior > decision making
CSHL Authors:
Communities: CSHL labs > Kepecs lab
School of Biological Sciences > Publications
Depositing User: Matthew Dunn
Date: July 2018
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2019 15:58
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:36
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