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Persistence of internal representations of alternative voluntary actions.

Filevich, E; Haggard, P; (2013) Persistence of internal representations of alternative voluntary actions. Front Psychol , 4 , Article 202. 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00202. Green open access

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Abstract

We have investigated a situation in which externally available response alternatives and their internal representations could be dissociated, by suddenly removing some action alternatives from the response space during the interval between the free selection and the execution of a voluntary action. Choice reaction times in this situation were related to the number of initially available response alternatives, rather than to the number of alternatives available effectively available after the change in the external environment. The internal representations of response alternatives appeared to persist after external changes actually made the corresponding action unavailable. This suggests a surprising dynamics of voluntary action representations: counterfactual response alternatives persist, and may even be actively maintained, even when they are not available in reality. Our results highlight a representational basis for the counterfactual course of action. Such representations may play a key role in feelings of regret, disappointment, or frustration. These feelings all involve persistent representation of counterfactual response alternatives that may not actually be available in the environment.

Type: Article
Title: Persistence of internal representations of alternative voluntary actions.
Location: Switzerland
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00202
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00202
Language: English
Additional information: © 2013 Filevich and Haggard. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc. PMCID: PMC3644713
Keywords: Hick’s law, free action, reselection, response selection, volition
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/1393906
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