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Investigating the (ir)reducibility and within- and between-subject correlates of intra-individual variability

Perquin, Marlou Nadine 2019. Investigating the (ir)reducibility and within- and between-subject correlates of intra-individual variability. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Intra-individual variability is a prominent characteristic of our behaviour. A large part of this variability is endogenous – arising from fluctuations in our own inner states. In the Introduction, I identify two distinct literatures: 1) the intuitive perspective, which describes variability as a consequence of meta-cognitive fluctuations, and 2) the intrinsic perspective, which describes variability as a necessary feature of our nervous system. In this thesis, I compare these two literatures across four chapters. In Chapter 1, I examined variability in the oculomotor system during rest, and found that variability is repeatable within. In Chapter 2, I found similar intra-individual reliability in variability on a rhythmic manual task, and in the temporal properties of variability. Furthermore, temporal structures correlated positively with variability, but did not correlate with subjective attentional state. In both chapters, variability did not correlate with ADHD, mind wandering, and impulsivity questionnaires. In Chapter 3, I examined the relationships between variability, metacognition, and underlying neural activity. Results showed that participants were more variable on the task prior to off-task compared to on-task reports. Furthermore, neural states underlying attentional state reports showed overlap with those underlying behavioural variability. However, effect sizes were weak – implying that variability and meta-cognition are poor markers of each other. In Chapter 4, I tested a common intuition that people have some access to their fluctuating inner states which they can use to improve their performance. I found evidence against this assumption in both an ecological (darts) and two psychophysical tasks. All in all, while the intuitive framework typically assumes a strong and possibly direct link between meta-cognition and behavioural variability, my current findings indicate that this link is clearly weak.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 27 April 2020
Date of Acceptance: 20 February 2020
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2021 08:49

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