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Losing Control in Social Situations: How the Presence of Others Affects Neural Processes Related to Sense of Agency.

Beyer, F; Sidarus, N; Fleming, S; Haggard, P; (2018) Losing Control in Social Situations: How the Presence of Others Affects Neural Processes Related to Sense of Agency. eNeuro , 5 (1) , Article e0336-17. 10.1523/ENEURO.0336-17.2018. Green open access

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Abstract

Social contexts substantially influence individual behavior, but little is known about how they affect cognitive processes related to voluntary action. Previously, it has been shown that social context reduces participants' sense of agency over the outcomes of their actions and outcome monitoring. In this fMRI study on human volunteers, we investigated the neural mechanisms by which social context alters sense of agency. Participants made costly actions to stop inflating a balloon before it burst. On "social" trials, another player could act in their stead, but we analyzed only trials in which the other player remained passive. We hypothesized that mentalizing processes during social trials would affect decision-making fluency and lead to a decreased sense of agency. In line with this hypothesis, we found increased activity in the bilateral temporo-parietal junction (TPJ), precuneus, and middle frontal gyrus during social trials compared with nonsocial trials. Activity in the precuneus was, in turn, negatively related to sense of agency at a single-trial level. We further found a double dissociation between TPJ and angular gyrus (AG): activity in the left AG was not sensitive to social context but was negatively related to sense of agency. In contrast, activity in the TPJ was modulated by social context but was not sensitive to sense of agency.

Type: Article
Title: Losing Control in Social Situations: How the Presence of Others Affects Neural Processes Related to Sense of Agency.
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1523/ENEURO.0336-17.2018
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1523/ENEURO.0336-17.2018
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2018 Beyer et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided that the original work is properly attributed.
Keywords: Diffusion of responsibility, fMRI, mentalizing network, sense of agency
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 > Experimental Psychology
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/10045544
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