Orbitofrontal cortex is required for optimal waiting based on decision confidence.
Lak A., Costa GM., Romberg E., Koulakov AA., Mainen ZF., Kepecs A.
Confidence judgments are a central example of metacognition-knowledge about one's own cognitive processes. According to this metacognitive view, confidence reports are generated by a second-order monitoring process based on the quality of internal representations about beliefs. Although neural correlates of decision confidence have been recently identified in humans and other animals, it is not well understood whether there are brain areas specifically important for confidence monitoring. To address this issue, we designed a postdecision temporal wagering task in which rats expressed choice confidence by the amount of time they were willing to wait for reward. We found that orbitofrontal cortex inactivation disrupts waiting-based confidence reports without affecting decision accuracy. Furthermore, we show that a normative model can quantitatively account for waiting times based on the computation of decision confidence. These results establish an anatomical locus for a metacognitive report, confidence judgment, distinct from the processes required for perceptual decisions.