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More than one type of probability must be considered when making decisions. It is as necessary to know one's chance of performing choices correctly as it is to know the chances that desired outcomes will follow choices. We refer to these two choice contingencies as internal and external probability. Neural activity across many frontal and parietal areas reflected internal and external probabilities in a similar manner during decision-making. However, neural recording and manipulation approaches suggest that one area, the anterior lateral prefrontal cortex (alPFC), is highly specialized for making prospective, metacognitive judgments on the basis of internal probability; it is essential for knowing which decisions to tackle, given its assessment of how well they will be performed. Its activity predicted prospective metacognitive judgments, and individual variation in activity predicted individual variation in metacognitive judgments. Its disruption altered metacognitive judgments, leading participants to tackle perceptual decisions they were likely to fail.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1396 - 1408.e7


anterior lateral prefrontal cortex, decision-making, functional magnetic resonance imaging, prospective metacognition, transcranial magnetic stimulation, Adult, Brain Mapping, Female, Humans, Judgment, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Metacognition, Neuropsychological Tests, Prefrontal Cortex, Prospective Studies, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation