Humans represent the precision and utility of information acquired across fixations

Emma Stewart*, Casimir J H Ludwig, Alexander Schütz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Our environment contains an abundance of objects which humans interact with daily, gathering visual information using sequences of eye-movements to choose which object is best-suited for a particular task. This process is not trivial, and requires a complex strategy where task affordance defines the search strategy, and the estimated precision of the visual information gathered from each object may be used to track perceptual confidence for object selection. This study addresses the fundamental problem of how such visual information is metacognitively represented and used for subsequent behaviour, and reveals a complex interplay between task affordance, visual information gathering, and metacogntive decision making. People fixate higher-utility objects, and most importantly retain metaknowledge about how much information they have gathered about these objects, which is used to guide perceptual report choices. These findings suggest that such metacognitive knowledge is important in situations where decisions are based on information acquired in a temporal sequence.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2411
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was funded by a European Research Council (ERC) grant under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant agreement number 676786) to A.C.S., and a Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) Grant (number 460533638), to E.E.M.S. We thank Almut Gitter, Hannah Walter, Marie Carmine, Julia Schnitter & Nino Sharvashidze for help with data collection and image preparation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


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