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

Prospective Sense of Agency: Cognitive and Neural Mechanisms

Sidarus, NC; (2016) Prospective Sense of Agency: Cognitive and Neural Mechanisms. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

[img]
Preview
Text
Sidarus_Thesis_Final.pdf - Accepted version

Download (11MB) | Preview

Abstract

The sense of agency (SoA) refers to the sense of being in control of one’s actions and, through them, of events in the external world. Much research has focused on how we link our actions to their outcomes. However, the contribution to SoA of processes linking our intentions to our actions has received little attention. The present research focused, therefore, on investigating the cognitive and neural mechanisms through which action selection processes can prospectively inform our SoA. Recent work revealed that influencing action selection through subliminal priming can lead to a reduction in SoA. Here, new tasks and manipulations of action selection were developed. The generalizability of previous results was demonstrated – a consistent reduction in SoA was found when action selection was disrupted. This effect was found for: disruptions at different stages of action selection; for different levels of awareness of distracting stimuli; and were unaffected by whether participants freely chose what to do, or followed an instruction. In other experiments, SoA judgements were tested in the context of a computer game, providing a more ecological and dynamic context than previous studies. Electrophysiological investigations of the neural correlates of agency showed neural monitoring of the action itself was reliably associated with judgements of agency, independently from and in addition to previously-established neural processes for monitoring outcomes. These findings, together with a meta-analysis of available studies, support a dissociation between prospective and retrospective components of SoA. Finally, the influence of social context on action selection and SoA was explored. Under conditions in which outcomes were unambiguously self-caused, the presence of an alternative agent who could act instead of oneself led to both reduced SoA and attenuated neural processing of those outcomes. The prospective sense of agency may be important as an advance predictor of successful action, allowing for immediate corrective action, as well as for learning to adapt behaviour in the future.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Prospective Sense of Agency: Cognitive and Neural Mechanisms
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Sense of Agency, Action Selection, Cognitive Control, Fluency
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/1493196
Downloads since deposit
534Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item