November 30, 2020

Temporal experience modifies future thoughts: Manipulation of Libet’s W influences difficulty assessment during a decision-making task

Past studies have employed the subjective experience of decision time (Libets W) as an index of consciousness, marking the moment at which the agent first becomes aware of a decision. In the current study, we examined whether the temporal experience of W affects subsequent experience related to the action. Specifically, we tested whether W influenced the perception of difficulty in a decision-making task, hypothesizing that temporal awareness of W might influence the sense of difficulty. Consistent with our predictions, when W was perceived as early or late, participants subsequently rated the decision difficulty to be easy or difficult, respectively (Exp.1). Further investigation showed that perceived difficulty, however, did not influence W (Exp.2). Together, our findings suggest a unidirectional relationship such that W plays a role in the metacognition of difficulty evaluation. The results imply that subjective temporal experience of decision time modifies the consequential sense of difficulty.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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