Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 177–183

Judging confidence influences decision processing in comparative judgments

Brief Reports

DOI: 10.3758/BF03196482

Cite this article as:
Petrusic, W.M. & Baranski, J.V. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review (2003) 10: 177. doi:10.3758/BF03196482


Current theories of confidence in human judgment assume that confidence and the decision it is based on are inextricably tied to the same process (decisional locus theories) or that confidence processing begins only once the primary decision has been completed (postdecisional locus theories). In the absence of auxiliary assumptions, however, neither class of theory permits the judgment of confidence to affect primary decision processing. In the present study, we examined the effect of rendering confidence judgments on the properties of the decision process in a sensory discrimination task. An examination of the properties of the time taken to determine confidence (i.e., the time taken to render the judgment of confidence) revealed clear evidence of postdecisional confidence processing. Concomitantly, the requirement of confidence judgments was found to substantially increase decisional response times, suggesting that some confidence processing occurs during the primary decision process. We discuss the implications of these findings for contemporary models of confidence in human judgment.

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© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Defence Research and Development CanadaTorontoCanada