Research in this field has the potential to enhance our knowledge of affective states disorder.
For the first time, a study has evaluated the connection between daily variations in mood and related factors (such as stress or sleep) and changes in metacognitive states (such as confidence or response energy). The findings showed that in healthy adults, fluctuations in mood do not affect their confidence in decision-making.
In the famous book “Descartes’ Error” (2008), Portuguese neuroscientist António Damásio examines the crucial role of emotions in human rational behavior and supports the longstanding connection between emotions and cognition. Despite emotions and mood fluctuations being a natural part of human life, there are still limited studies on how these mood changes interact with metacognition and, specifically, with confidence in decision-making.
Considering this state-of-the-art, researchers María da Fonseca, Giovanni Maffei, Rubén Moreno-Bote, and Alexandre Hyafil from the University of Pompeu Fabra (Spain), Koa Health B.V. (Spain), Center de Recerca Matemàtica (Spain) and University of Buenos Aires (Argentina) started a longitudinal study based on two online experiments to assess whether implicit confidence markers can be related to mood states in healthy adults.
In the article, which was published in the journal Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, the researchers explain that they used a sample of 50 participants, mainly among students from University of Pompeu Fabra, to track subjects’ moods and decision-making over a period of 10 consecutive days in everyday life settings.
The results showed that there is no significant correlation between daily fluctuations of mood and session-confidence markers, that is, mood and associated variables, such as sleep quality, food enjoyment, and stress level, are not consistently coupled with implicit confidence markers. However, mood-related states and confidence levels have been found to fluctuate at different time scales, with mood-related states displaying faster fluctuations (over one day or half a day) than confidence levels (two-and-a-half days).
Rubén Moreno Bote, supported by the BIAL Foundation, finds it surprising to see that “spontaneous fluctuations in mood and confidence were not coupled, as expected in the original hypothesis of this study, but evolved on different time scales”. For the researcher from the University of Pompeu Fabra, “findings in this area are important as they could contribute to a better understanding of affective states disorders.”
Reference: “Mood and implicit confidence independently fluctuate at different time scales” by María da Fonseca, Giovanni Maffei, Rubén Moreno-Bote and Alexandre Hyafil, 26 October 2022, Cognitive Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience.
The study was funded by the BIAL Foundation.