A Bayesian Framework for Modeling Confidence in Perceptual Decision Making

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 28 (NIPS 2015)

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Koosha Khalvati, Rajesh PN Rao


The degree of confidence in one's choice or decision is a critical aspect of perceptual decision making. Attempts to quantify a decision maker's confidence by measuring accuracy in a task have yielded limited success because confidence and accuracy are typically not equal. In this paper, we introduce a Bayesian framework to model confidence in perceptual decision making. We show that this model, based on partially observable Markov decision processes (POMDPs), is able to predict confidence of a decision maker based only on the data available to the experimenter. We test our model on two experiments on confidence-based decision making involving the well-known random dots motion discrimination task. In both experiments, we show that our model's predictions closely match experimental data. Additionally, our model is also consistent with other phenomena such as the hard-easy effect in perceptual decision making.