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Title: On the use of metacognitive signals to navigate the social world
Author: Pescetelli, Niccolo
ISNI:       0000 0004 6498 1039
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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Since the early days of psychology, practitioners have recognised that metacognition - or the act of thinking about one's own thinking - is intertwined with our experience of the world. In the last decade, scientists have started to understand metacognitive signals, like judgments of confidence, as precise mathematical constructs. Confidence can be conceived of as an internal estimate of the probability of being correct. As such, confidence influences both advice seeking and advice taking while allowing people to optimally combine their views for joint action and group coordination. This work begins by exploring the idea that confidence judgments are important for monitoring not only uncertainty associated with one's performance but also, thanks to their positive covariation with accuracy, the reliability of social advisers, particularly when objective criteria are not available. I present data showing that, when adviser and advisee's judgments are independent, people are able to detect subtle variations in advice information, irrespective of feedback presence. I also show that, when such independence is broken, the use of subjective confidence to track others' reliability leads to systematic deviations. I then proceed to explore the differences existing between static and dynamic social information exchange. Traditionally, social and organisational psychology have investigated one-step unidirectional information systems, but many real-life interactions happen on a continuous time-scale, where social exchanges are recursive and dynamic. I present results indicating that the dynamics of social information exchange (recursive vs. one-step) affect individual opinions over and above the information that is communicated. Overall, my results suggest a bidirectional involvement of confidence in social inference and information exchange, and highlight the limits of the mechanisms underlying it.
Supervisor: Yeung, Nicholas Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Decision making ; confidence ; metacognition ; belief change ; advice taking ; decision making