Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Thesis defense Laura Geurts (Donders thesis 558)

2 September 2022

Promotor: prof. dr. D.G. Norris
Co-promotor: dr. J.F.M. Jehee

Computational mechanisms of subjective confidence in human cortex

Confidence is a key component of almost all decisions we make. For example, we only cross a busy street if we are sufficiently certain that we will safely make it to the other side. But how does the brain compute the level of confidence in such decisions?
The information on which we base our decisions is often consistent with multiple scenarios. For example, an approaching car may accelerate or slow down. To make the best possible decision, the brain should calculate the probability of different scenarios, and the level of confidence in a decision should be based on the number of plausible scenarios.
In this thesis, I tested this hypothesis and investigated the neural mechanisms that underlie the computation of confidence. My findings suggest that the brain indeed calculates the probability of different scenarios to compute decision confidence and provide insight into which brain areas might be involved in this process.