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Choosing, Doing, and Controlling: Implicit Sense of Agency Over Somatosensory Events

Borhani, K; Beck, B; Haggard, P; (2017) Choosing, Doing, and Controlling: Implicit Sense of Agency Over Somatosensory Events. Psychological Science , 28 (7) pp. 882-893. 10.1177/0956797617697693. Green open access

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Abstract

Sense of agency-a feeling of control over one's actions and their outcomes-might include at least two components: free choice over which outcome to pursue and motoric control over the action causing the outcome. We orthogonally manipulated locus of outcome choice (free or instructed choice) and motoric control (active or passive movement), while measuring the perceived temporal attraction between actions and outcomes ( temporal binding) as an implicit marker of agency. Participants also rated stimulus intensity so that we could measure sensory attenuation, another possible implicit marker of agency. Actions caused higher or lower levels of either painful heat or mild electrotactile stimulation. We found that both motoric control and outcome choice contributed to outcome binding. Moreover, free choice, relative to instructed choice, attenuated the perceived magnitude of high-intensity outcomes, but only when participants made an active movement. Thus, choosing, not just doing, influences temporal binding and sensory attenuation, though in different ways. Our results show that these implicit measures of agency are sensitive to both voluntary motor commands and instrumental control over action outcomes.

Type: Article
Title: Choosing, Doing, and Controlling: Implicit Sense of Agency Over Somatosensory Events
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/0956797617697693
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1177/0956797617697693
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: action selection, pain, sense of agency, sensory attenuation, tactile, temporal binding, voluntary action
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1557067
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