Measures of metacognition on signal-detection theoretic models

Barrett, Adam B, Dienes, Zoltan and Seth, Anil K (2013) Measures of metacognition on signal-detection theoretic models. Psychological Methods., 18 (4). pp. 535-552. ISSN 1082-989X

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Analysing metacognition, specifically knowledge of accuracy of internal perceptual,
memorial or other knowledge states, is vital for many strands of psychology, including
determining the accuracy of feelings of knowing, and discriminating conscious from
unconscious cognition. Quantifying metacognitive sensitivity is however more challenging
than quantifying basic stimulus sensitivity. Under popular signal detection theory (SDT)
models for stimulus classification tasks, approaches based on type II receiver-operator
characteristic (ROC) curves or type II d-prime risk confounding metacognition with
response biases in either the type I (classification) or type II (metacognitive) tasks. A new
approach introduces meta-d′: the type I d-prime that would have led to the observed type
II data had the subject used all the type I information. Here we (i) further establish the
inconsistency of the type II d-prime and ROC approaches with new explicit analyses of
the standard SDT model, and (ii) analyse, for the first time, the behaviour of meta-d′
under non-trivial scenarios, such as when metacognitive judgments utilize enhanced or
degraded versions of the type I evidence. Analytically, meta-d′ values typically reflect the
underlying model well, and are stable under changes in decision criteria; however, in
relatively extreme cases meta-d′ can become unstable. We explore bias and variance of
in-sample measurements of meta-d′ and supply MATLAB code for estimation in general
cases. Our results support meta-d′ as a useful measure of metacognition, and provide
rigorous methodology for its application. Our recommendations are useful for any
researchers interested in assessing metacognitive accuracy.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Depositing User: Bethany Logan
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2014 11:19
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2017 14:07

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