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Temporal error monitoring with directional error magnitude judgements: a robust phenomenon with no effect of being watched

Abstract

A key aspect of metacognition is the ability to monitor performance. A recent line of work has shown that error-monitoring ability captures both the magnitude and direction of timing errors, thereby pointing at the metric composition of error monitoring [e.g., Akdoğan and Balcı (J Exp Psychol https://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000265, 2017)]. These studies, however, primarily used a composite variable that combined isolated measures of ordinal confidence ratings (as a proxy for error magnitude judgement) and “shorter/longer than the target” judgements. In two experiments we tested temporal error monitoring (TEM) performance with a more direct measure of directional error magnitude rating on a continuum. The second aim of this study is to test if TEM performance is modulated by the feeling of being watched that was previously shown to influence metacognitive-like monitoring processes. We predicted that being watched would improve TEM performance, particularly in participants with high timing precision (a proxy for high task mastery), and disrupt TEM performance in participants with low timing precision (a proxy for low task mastery). In both experiments, we found strong evidence for TEM ability. However, we did not find any reliable effect of the social stimulus on TEM performance. In short, our results demonstrate that metric error monitoring is a robust metacognitive phenomenon, which is not sensitive to social influence.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Alper Mert (undergraduate research assistant at TMDM Lab) for his help with the data collection in Experiment 2.

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Correspondence to Fuat Balcı.

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This study has no animal subjects performing any part of the experimental procedures. All procedures that were held in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with 1964 Helsinki Declaration. Informed consent form was obtained from all participants prior to the beginning of the experimental procedures.

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Öztel, T., Eskenazi, T. & Balcı, F. Temporal error monitoring with directional error magnitude judgements: a robust phenomenon with no effect of being watched. Psychological Research 85, 2069–2078 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-020-01379-0

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