1. Neuroscience
Download icon

Neural evidence accumulation persists after choice to inform metacognitive judgments

  1. Peter R Murphy  Is a corresponding author
  2. Ian H Robertson
  3. Siobhán Harty
  4. Redmond G O'Connell
  1. Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Research Article
  • Cited 72
  • Views 2,889
  • Annotations
Cite this article as: eLife 2015;4:e11946 doi: 10.7554/eLife.11946

Abstract

The ability to revise one's certainty or confidence in a preceding choice is a critical feature of adaptive decision-making but the neural mechanisms underpinning this metacognitive process have yet to be characterized. In the present study, we demonstrate that the same build-to-threshold decision variable signal that triggers an initial choice continues to evolve after commitment, and determines the timing and accuracy of self-initiated error detection reports by selectively representing accumulated evidence that the preceding choice was incorrect. We also show that a peri-choice signal generated in medial frontal cortex provides a source of input to this post-decision accumulation process, indicating that metacognitive judgments are not solely based on the accumulation of feedforward sensory evidence. These findings impart novel insights into the generative mechanisms of metacognition.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Peter R Murphy

    Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
    For correspondence
    murphyp7@tcd.ie
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Ian H Robertson

    Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Siobhán Harty

    Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Redmond G O'Connell

    Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.

Ethics

Human subjects: We state in our manuscript (p.19):"[Subjects] provided written informed consent, and all procedures were approved by the Trinity College Dublin ethics committee and conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Michael J Frank, Brown University, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: September 29, 2015
  2. Accepted: December 17, 2015
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: December 19, 2015 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: January 28, 2016 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2015, Murphy et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

Metrics

  • 2,889
    Page views
  • 731
    Downloads
  • 72
    Citations

Article citation count generated by polling the highest count across the following sources: Scopus, Crossref, PubMed Central.

Download links

A two-part list of links to download the article, or parts of the article, in various formats.

Downloads (link to download the article as PDF)

Download citations (links to download the citations from this article in formats compatible with various reference manager tools)

Open citations (links to open the citations from this article in various online reference manager services)

Further reading

    1. Developmental Biology
    2. Neuroscience
    Sonia Taïb et al.
    Research Article Updated

    Peripheral nerves are vascularized by a dense network of blood vessels to guarantee their complex function. Despite the crucial role of vascularization to ensure nerve homeostasis and regeneration, the mechanisms governing nerve invasion by blood vessels remain poorly understood. We found, in mice, that the sciatic nerve invasion by blood vessels begins around embryonic day 16 and continues until birth. Interestingly, intra-nervous blood vessel density significantly decreases during post-natal period, starting from P10. We show that, while the axon guidance molecule Netrin-1 promotes nerve invasion by blood vessels via the endothelial receptor UNC5B during embryogenesis, myelinated Schwann cells negatively control intra-nervous vascularization during post-natal period.

    1. Neuroscience
    Christian Brodbeck et al.
    Research Article

    Speech processing is highly incremental. It is widely accepted that human listeners continuously use the linguistic context to anticipate upcoming concepts, words, and phonemes. However, previous evidence supports two seemingly contradictory models of how a predictive context is integrated with the bottom-up sensory input: Classic psycholinguistic paradigms suggest a two-stage process, in which acoustic input initially leads to local, context-independent representations, which are then quickly integrated with contextual constraints. This contrasts with the view that the brain constructs a single coherent, unified interpretation of the input, which fully integrates available information across representational hierarchies, and thus uses contextual constraints to modulate even the earliest sensory representations. To distinguish these hypotheses, we tested magnetoencephalography responses to continuous narrative speech for signatures of local and unified predictive models. Results provide evidence that listeners employ both types of models in parallel. Two local context models uniquely predict some part of early neural responses, one based on sublexical phoneme sequences, and one based on the phonemes in the current word alone; at the same time, even early responses to phonemes also reflect a unified model that incorporates sentence level constraints to predict upcoming phonemes. Neural source localization places the anatomical origins of the different predictive models in non-identical parts of the superior temporal lobes bilaterally, with the right hemisphere showing a relative preference for more local models. These results suggest that speech processing recruits both local and unified predictive models in parallel, reconciling previous disparate findings. Parallel models might make the perceptual system more robust, facilitate processing of unexpected inputs, and serve a function in language acquisition.