Two sides of the same coin: Monetary incentives concurrently improve and bias confidence judgments

Maël Lebreton, Shari Langdon, Matthijs J Slieker, Jip S Nooitgedacht, Anna E Goudriaan, D. Denys, Ruth J van Holst, Judy Luigjes

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
149 Downloads (Pure)


Decisions are accompanied by a feeling of confidence, that is, a belief about the decision being correct. Confidence accuracy is critical, notably in high-stakes situations such as medical or financial decision-making. We investigated how incentive motivation influences confidence accuracy by combining a perceptual task with a confidence incentivization mechanism. By varying the magnitude and valence (gains or losses) of monetary incentives, we orthogonalized their motivational and affective components. Corroborating theories of rational decision-making and motivation, our results first reveal that the motivational value of incentives improves aspects of confidence accuracy. However, in line with a value-confidence interaction hypothesis, we further show that the affective value of incentives concurrently biases confidence reports, thus degrading confidence accuracy. Finally, we demonstrate that the motivational and affective effects of incentives differentially affect how confidence builds on perceptual evidence. Together, these findings may provide new hints about confidence miscalibration in healthy or pathological contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)eaaq0668
JournalScience advances
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Journal Article


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