Metacognition in monkeys during an oculomotor task.
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This study investigated whether rhesus monkeys show evidence of metacognition in a reduced, visual oculomotor task that is particularly suitable for use in fMRI and electrophysiology. The 2-stage task involved punctate visual stimulation and saccadic eye movement responses. In each trial, monkeys made a decision and then made a bet. To earn maximum reward, they had to monitor their decision and use that information to bet advantageously. Two monkeys learned to base their bets on their decisions within a few weeks. We implemented an operational definition of metacognitive behavior that relied on trial-by-trial analyses and signal detection theory. Both monkeys exhibited metacognition according to these quantitative criteria. Neither external visual cues nor potential reaction time cues explained the betting behavior; the animals seemed to rely exclusively on internal traces of their decisions. We documented the learning process of one monkey. During a 10-session transition phase, betting switched from random to a decision-based strategy. The results reinforce previous findings of metacognitive ability in monkeys and may facilitate the neurophysiological investigation of metacognitive functions.
Published Version (Please cite this version)
Middlebrooks, Paul G, and Marc A Sommer (2011). Metacognition in monkeys during an oculomotor task. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn, 37(2). pp. 325–337. 10.1037/a0021611 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/10302.
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We study circuits for cognition. Using a combination of neurophysiology and biomedical engineering, we focus on the interaction between brain areas during visual perception, decision-making, and motor planning. Specific projects include the role of frontal cortex in metacognition, the role of cerebellar-frontal circuits in action timing, the neural basis of "good enough" decision-making (satisficing), and the neural mechanisms of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
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