April 12, 2021

Pre-stimulus alpha activities predict the confidence in subjective judgment by modulating post-stimulus theta oscillation

Even when making arbitrary decisions, people tend to feel varying levels of confidence, which is associated with the pre-stimulus neural oscillation of the brain. We investigated varying confidence in a pure subjective judgment task, and how this confidence was predicted by pre-stimulus alpha oscillations. Participants made pure subjective judgments where their prior experience seems to be helpful but actually useless, and their fluctuating confidence was related to the choice boundary process rather than the evidence accumulation process, suggesting participants underwent varying confidence resulting from the internal signals. With EEG and MEG analyses, we not only revealed the linkage between confidence and pre-stimulus alpha activities, but also successfully located this linkage onto decision-making relevant brain areas, i.e. MCC/PCC and SMA. Moreover, we unveiled a specific pathway underlying such linkage, that is, the influence of pre-stimulus alpha activities on decision confidence was fulfilled through modulating post-stimulus theta activities of SMA.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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