Description: Metacognition is the capacity to evaluate the success of one’s own cognitive processes in various domains, e.g. memory and perception. It remains controversial whether metacognition relies on a domain-general resource that is applied to different tasks, or whether self-evaluative processes are domain-specific. Here we directly investigated this issue by examining the neural substrates engaged when metacognitive judgments were made by human participants during perceptual and memory tasks matched for stimulus and performance characteristics. By comparing patterns of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) activity while subjects evaluated their performance, we revealed both domain-specific and domain-general metacognitive representations. Multi-voxel activity patterns in anterior prefrontal cortex predicted levels of confidence in a domain-specific fashion, whereas domain-general signals predicting confidence and accuracy were found in a widespread network in the frontal and posterior midline. The demonstration of domain-specific metacognitive representations suggests the presence of a content-rich mechanism available to introspection and cognitive control.
Related article: http://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2360-17.2018
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