Perceptual change-of-mind decisions are sensitive to absolute evidence magnitude

William Turner, Daniel Feuerriegel, Milan Andrejević, Robert Hester, Stefan Bode

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


To navigate the world safely, we often need to rapidly ‘change our mind’ about decisions. Current models assume that initial decisions and change-of-mind decisions draw upon common sources of sensory evidence. In two-choice scenarios, this evidence may be ‘relative’ or ‘absolute’. For example, when judging which of two objects is the brightest, the luminance difference and luminance ratio between the two objects are sources of ‘relative’ evidence, which are invariant across additive and multiplicative luminance changes. Conversely, the overall luminance of the two objects combined is a source of ‘absolute’ evidence, which necessarily varies across symmetric luminance manipulations. Previous studies have shown that initial decisions are sensitive to both relative and absolute evidence; however, it is unknown whether change-of-mind decisions are sensitive to absolute evidence. Here, we investigated this question across two experiments. In each experiment participants indicated which of two flickering greyscale squares was brightest. Following an initial decision, the stimuli remained on screen for a brief period and participants could change their response. To investigate the effect of absolute evidence, the overall luminance of the two squares was varied whilst either the luminance difference (Experiment 1) or luminance ratio (Experiment 2) was held constant. In both experiments we found that increases in absolute evidence led to faster, less accurate initial responses and slower changes of mind. Change-of-mind accuracy decreased when the luminance difference was held constant, but remained unchanged when the luminance ratio was fixed. We show that the three existing change-of-mind models cannot account for our findings. We then fit three alternative models, previously used to account for the effect of absolute evidence on one-off decisions, to the data. A leaky competing accumulator model best accounted for the changes in behaviour across absolute evidence conditions – suggesting an important role for input-dependent leak in explaining perceptual changes of mind.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101358
Number of pages18
JournalCognitive Psychology
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Absolute evidence
  • Change-of-mind
  • Decision-making models
  • Evidence accumulation

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