No one likes to be wrong. Previous research has shown that participants may underweight information incompatible with previous choices, a phenomenon called confirmation bias. In this paper we argue that a similar bias exists in the way information is actively sought. We investigate how choice influences information gathering using a perceptual choice task and find that participants sample more information from a previously chosen alternative. Furthermore, the higher the confidence in the initial choice, the more biased information sampling becomes. As a consequence, when faced with the possibility of revising an earlier decision, participants are more likely to stick with their original choice, even when incorrect. Critically, we show that agency controls this phenomenon. The effect disappears in a fixed sampling condition where presentation of evidence is controlled by the experimenter, suggesting that the way in which confirmatory evidence is acquired critically impacts the decision process. These results suggest active information acquisition plays a critical role in the propagation of strongly held beliefs over time.
All data is available on the lab GitHub page (https://github.com/BDMLab).
- Benedetto De Martino
- Benedetto De Martino
- Pradyumna Sepulveda
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Human subjects: All participants signed a consent form and both studies were done following the approval given by the University of Cambridge, Cambridge Psychology Research Ethics Committee (PRE.2015.095).
- Valentin Wyart, École normale supérieure, PSL University, INSERM, France
© 2022, Kaanders 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.
Postsynaptic mitochondria are critical for the development, plasticity, and maintenance of synaptic inputs. However, their relationship to synaptic structure and functional activity is unknown. We examined a correlative dataset from ferret visual cortex with in vivo two-photon calcium imaging of dendritic spines during visual stimulation and electron microscopy reconstructions of spine ultrastructure, investigating mitochondrial abundance near functionally and structurally characterized spines. Surprisingly, we found no correlation to structural measures of synaptic strength. Instead, we found that mitochondria are positioned near spines with orientation preferences that are dissimilar to the somatic preference. Additionally, we found that mitochondria are positioned near groups of spines with heterogeneous orientation preferences. For a subset of spines with a mitochondrion in the head or neck, synapses were larger and exhibited greater selectivity to visual stimuli than those without a mitochondrion. Our data suggest mitochondria are not necessarily positioned to support the energy needs of strong spines, but rather support the structurally and functionally diverse inputs innervating the basal dendrites of cortical neurons.