UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Control Changes the Way We Look at the World

Wen, W; Haggard, P; (2018) Control Changes the Way We Look at the World. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience , 30 (4) pp. 603-619. 10.1162/jocn_a_01226. Green open access

[img]
Preview
Text
Wen_jocn_a_01226.pdf - Published version

Download (2MB) | Preview

Abstract

The feeling of control is a fundamental aspect of human experience, and accompanies our voluntary actions all the time. However, it remains poorly understood how the sense of control interacts with wider perception, cognition, and behaviour. The present study focused on how controlling an external object influences the allocation of attention. Experiment 1 examined attention to an object that is under a different level of control from the others. Participants searched for a target among multiple distractors on screen. All the distractors were partially under the participant’s control (50% control level), and the search target was either under more or less control than the distractors. The results showed that, against this background of partial control, visual attention was attracted to an object only if it was more controlled than other available objects, and not if it was less controlled. Experiment 2 examined attention allocation in contexts of either perfect control or no control over most of the objects. Specifically, the distractors were under either perfect (100%) control or no (0%) control, and the search target had one of six levels of control varying from 0% to 100%. When differences in control between the distractors and the target were small, visual attention was now more strongly drawn to search targets that were less controlled than distractors, rather than more controlled, suggesting attention to objects over which one might be losing control. Experiment 3 studied the events of losing or gaining control as opposed to the states of having or not having control. ERP measures showed that P300 amplitude proportionally encoded the magnitude of both increases and decreases in degree of control. However, losing control had more marked effects on P170 and P300 than gaining an equivalent degree of control, indicating high priority for efficiently detecting failures of control. Overall, our results suggest that controlled objects preferentially attract attention in uncontrolled environments. However, once control has been registered, the brain becomes highly sensitive to subsequent loss of control. Our findings point towards careful perceptual monitoring of degree of one’s own agentic control over external objects. We suggest that control has intrinsic cognitive value, since perceptual systems are organized to detect it, and, once it has been acquired, to maintain it.

Type: Article
Title: Control Changes the Way We Look at the World
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1162/jocn_a_01226
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1162/jocn_a_01226
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Sense of control, attention, error-monitoring, comparator model, ERP, P170, P300
UCL classification: UCL
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: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10039371
Downloads since deposit
156Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item