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Modulation of Reaction Times and Sense of Agency via Subliminal Priming in Functional Movement Disorders

Huys, ACML; Edwards, MJ; Bhatia, KP; Haggard, P; (2020) Modulation of Reaction Times and Sense of Agency via Subliminal Priming in Functional Movement Disorders. Frontiers in Neurology , 11 , Article 989. 10.3389/fneur.2020.00989. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: In functional movement disorders, explicit movements are impaired, while implicit movements are preserved. Furthermore, there is evidence that the sense of agency is abnormal. / Aim: We aimed to investigate how motor responses and sense of agency were affected by subliminal or supraliminal cues in people with functional movement disorders. / Methods: Twenty-three people with a functional movement disorder and 26 healthy controls took part in a subliminal and supraliminal priming experiment which investigated reaction times, choice and sense of agency. Participants pressed a left or right arrow key in response to an imperative left or right pointing arrow. Either key could be pressed in response to bidirectional arrows. The imperative arrow was preceded by a small left or right pointing prime arrow, that was non-predictive (50% correct) and was presented in either subliminal or supraliminal conditions. The participant's response caused the appearance of a colored circle and they rated the degree of control they felt over its appearance (sense of agency). The circle's color depended on whether their response was congruent or incongruent with the prime arrow direction. After exclusion, 19 participants remained in each group. / Results: Prime-compatible responses led to faster reaction times in both the subliminal and supraliminal condition. Subliminal prime-compatible responses were chosen more frequently in the free choice condition. The sense of agency did not depend on prime-response congruency. There were no significant differences in any of these measures between the two groups. Conclusion: With non-predictive cues, reaction times, choices, and the sense of agency remain normal in people with functional movement disorders, for both subliminal and supraliminal primes. The findings suggest that it is not so much conscious awareness of the movement, but rather conscious motor preparation that is detrimental to motor function in functional movement disorders.

Type: Article
Title: Modulation of Reaction Times and Sense of Agency via Subliminal Priming in Functional Movement Disorders
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fneur.2020.00989
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2020.00989
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2020 Huys, Edwards, Bhatia and Haggard. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Keywords: subliminal priming, supraliminal priming, agency, functional movement disorders, functional neurological disorder, conversion disorder, motor control
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
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Clinical and Movement Neurosciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10112231
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