MetaLab at Latitude

Last weekend we pitched up at Latitude Festival as part of the BrainHub, organized together with James Kilner's group. We used this as an opportunity to get some user feedback about the latest prototype version of "MetacogMission" - an app that Andy McWilliams is developing together with London-based technology company DamnFine to study metacognition via a series of decision-making games. Thanks for everyone who took part - we got tons of useful feedback and pilot data that we are now starting to sift through.

Here's a brilliant timelapse video of the BrainHub put together by Alex Galvez-Pol in James' lab. We are also very grateful to WCHN Public Engagement coordinator Cassie Hughill who held everything together and kept everyone fed and watered, and to Ben from DamnFine for being on hand for remote tech support all the way from New York! And last but not least, Max, Matan, Xiao and Alisa who worked hard to make it a great event.

 The MetaLab team

The MetaLab team

Paper on decision confidence in PNAS

Dan Bang's paper isolating decision confidence from its component parts has recently been published in PNAS - congratulations Dan! An open access preprint can be found here, and code/data supporting the study are on our lab GitHub site.

In this paper we devised a novel psychophysical task that allowed us to independently manipulate the certainty about the perceptual input (the direction of a cloud of moving dots) and the difficulty of the decision (how close the dots were to a reference line). Both factors influenced confidence. Using fMRI, we found that some brain regions previously implicated in the encoding of decision confidence actually tracked either perceptual certainty (such as the parietal cortex) or decision difficulty (such as pre-SMA), whereas confidence was uniquely tracked in medial PFC (see image below). This may explain why prefrontal damage is regularly associated with dysfunction in metacognition (higher-level estimates of task performance), without affecting "lower level" encoding of beliefs.


New paper published in Nature Neuroscience

Our paper "Neural mediators of changes of mind about perceptual decisions" is now out in Nature Neuroscience. This study was carried out by Steve while he was a postdoc at NYU in collaboration with Nathaniel Daw and Illy van der Putten, and used manipulations of post-decision evidence to identify differential contributions of subregions of the prefrontal cortex during changes of mind. Redmond O'Connell and Peter Murphy wrote a nice commentary on the study (from which the image below is taken from) in the same issue which can be accessed here.


MetaLab at the Tate!

Over the weekend members of the MetaLab descended on the Tate Modern to take part in the fantastic Self-Impressions event organized by the Institute of Philosophy. We used this as an opportunity to get some user feedback of a prototype of "MetacogMission" - an app we're developing together with London-based technology company DamnFine to quantify metacognition via a series of decision-making games. Thanks for everyone who came along, we got tons of useful feedback that we are now busily implementing!

Here are some photos of the day. We are very grateful to WCHN Public Engagement coordinator Cassie, to DamnFine gurus Tristam and George, and Andy McWilliams who is leading the development of MetacogMission. And of course all the lab who pitched in to help make it a great event - thank you to all!

HMeta-d toolbox is out!

We have published a paper in Neuroscience of Consciousness on our new toolbox for estimating metacognitive efficiency (how well confidence ratings track performance) using hierarchical Bayes. The toolbox is available for download here. The main result is that we can obtain robust estimates of meta-d' with small numbers of trials, which may be useful for future studies in clinical settings.