Metacognition in monkeys during an oculomotor task.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

This study investigated whether rhesus monkeys show evidence of metacognition in a reduced, visual oculomotor task that is particularly suitable for use in fMRI and electrophysiology. The 2-stage task involved punctate visual stimulation and saccadic eye movement responses. In each trial, monkeys made a decision and then made a bet. To earn maximum reward, they had to monitor their decision and use that information to bet advantageously. Two monkeys learned to base their bets on their decisions within a few weeks. We implemented an operational definition of metacognitive behavior that relied on trial-by-trial analyses and signal detection theory. Both monkeys exhibited metacognition according to these quantitative criteria. Neither external visual cues nor potential reaction time cues explained the betting behavior; the animals seemed to rely exclusively on internal traces of their decisions. We documented the learning process of one monkey. During a 10-session transition phase, betting switched from random to a decision-based strategy. The results reinforce previous findings of metacognitive ability in monkeys and may facilitate the neurophysiological investigation of metacognitive functions.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Middlebrooks, PG; Sommer, MA

Published Date

  • March 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 37 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 325 - 337

PubMed ID

  • 21171807

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC3649877

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1939-1285

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0278-7393

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037/a0021611


  • eng