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Whodunnit? Electrophysiological correlates of agency judgements.

Kühn, S; Nenchev, I; Haggard, P; Brass, M; Gallinat, J; Voss, M; (2011) Whodunnit? Electrophysiological correlates of agency judgements. PLoS One , 6 (12) , Article e28657. 10.1371/journal.pone.0028657. Green open access

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Abstract

Sense of agency refers to the feeling that "I" am responsible for those external events that are directly produced by one's own voluntary actions. Recent theories distinguish between a non-conceptual "feeling" of agency linked to changes in the processing of self-generated sensory events, and a higher-order judgement of agency, which attributes sensory events to the self. In the current study we explore the neural correlates of the judgement of agency by means of electrophysiology. We measured event-related potentials to tones that were either perceived or not perceived as triggered by participants' voluntary actions and related these potentials to later judgements of agency over the tones. Replicating earlier findings on predictive sensory attenuation, we found that the N1 component was attenuated for congruent tones that corresponded to the learned action-effect mapping as opposed to incongruent tones that did not correspond to the previously acquired associations between actions and tones. The P3a component, but not the N1, directly reflected the judgement of agency: deflections in this component were greater for tones judged as self-generated than for tones judged as externally produced. The fact that the outcome of the later agency judgement was predictable based on the P3a component demonstrates that agency judgements incorporate early information processing components and are not purely reconstructive, post-hoc evaluations generated at time of judgement.

Type: Article
Title: Whodunnit? Electrophysiological correlates of agency judgements.
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0028657
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0028657
Language: English
Additional information: © 2011 Kühn et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. SK is a Postdoctoral Fellow of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO). MV is supported by the “European Platform for Life Sciences, Mind Sciences, and the Humanities” grant by the Volkswagen Stiftung. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Keywords: Adult, Behavior, Electrodes, Electrophysiological Phenomena, Evoked Potentials, Female, Humans, Judgment, Male, Middle Aged, Self Concept, Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted, Young Adult
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/1335197
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