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Journal Article


Marcos E, Cos I, Girard B, Verschure PF. PLoS One 2015; 10(12): e0144841.


Institució Catalana de Recercai Estudis Avançats (ICREA), Passeig Lluís Companys 23, 08010, Barcelona, Spain.


(Copyright © 2015, Public Library of Science)






Perceptual decision making has been widely studied using tasks in which subjects are asked to discriminate a visual stimulus and instructed to report their decision with a movement. In these studies, performance is measured by assessing the accuracy of the participants' choices as a function of the ambiguity of the visual stimulus. Typically, the reporting movement is considered as a mere means of reporting the decision with no influence on the decision-making process. However, recent studies have shown that even subtle differences of biomechanical costs between movements may influence how we select between them. Here we investigated whether this purely motor cost could also influence decisions in a perceptual discrimination task in detriment of accuracy. In other words, are perceptual decisions only dependent on the visual stimulus and entirely orthogonal to motor costs? Here we show the results of a psychophysical experiment in which human subjects were presented with a random dot motion discrimination task and asked to report the perceived motion direction using movements of different biomechanical cost. We found that the pattern of decisions exhibited a significant bias towards the movement of lower cost, even when this bias reduced performance accuracy. This strongly suggests that motor costs influence decision making in visual discrimination tasks for which its contribution is neither instructed nor beneficial.

Language: en


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