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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01712

Metacognitive accuracy improves with the perceptual learning of a low- but not high-level face property

  • 1Monash University, Australia
  • 2Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences (MICCN), Monash University, Australia

Experience with visual stimuli can improve their perceptual performance, a phenomenon termed visual perceptual learning (VPL). VPL has been found to improve metacognitive measures, suggesting increased conscious accessibility to the knowledge supporting perceptual decision-making. However, such studies have largely failed to control objective task accuracy, which typically correlates with metacognition. Here, using a staircase method to control this confound, we investigated whether VPL improves the metacognitive accuracy of perceptual decision-making. Across three days, subjects were trained to discriminate faces based on their high-level identity or low-level contrast. Holding objective accuracy constant across training days, perceptual thresholds decreased in both tasks, demonstrating VPL in our protocol. However, while metacognitive accuracy was not affected by face contrast VPL, it was decreased by face identity VPL. Our findings could be parsimoniously explained by a dual-stage signal detection theory-based model involving an initial perceptual decision-making stage and a second confidence judgement stage. Within this model, internal noise reductions for both stages accounts for our face contrast VPL result, while only first stage noise reductions accounts for our face identity VPL result. In summary, we found evidence suggesting that conscious knowledge accessibility was improved by the VPL of face contrast but not face identity.

Keywords: Conscious &unconscious memory, Face perception and cognition, Metacogition, Perceptual Learning, memory and learning

Received: 10 Aug 2018; Accepted: 09 Jul 2019.

Edited by:

Guido Hesselmann, Psychologische Hochschule Berlin, Germany

Reviewed by:

Kristian Sandberg, Aarhus University, Denmark
Manuel Rausch, Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Germany  

Copyright: © 2019 Chen, Mundy and Tsuchiya. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Benjamin Chen, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, dbenchen@gmail.com