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Beyond self-serving bias: diffusion of responsibility reduces sense of agency and outcome monitoring

Beyer, F; Sidarus, N; Bonicalzi, S; Haggard, P; (2016) Beyond self-serving bias: diffusion of responsibility reduces sense of agency and outcome monitoring. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience , 12 (1) pp. 138-145. 10.1093/scan/nsw160. Green open access

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Abstract

Diffusion of responsibility across agents has been proposed to underlie decreased helping and increased aggression in group behaviour. However, few studies have directly investigated effects of the presence of other people on how we experience the consequences of our actions. This EEG study investigated whether diffusion of responsibility simply reflects a post-hoc self-serving bias, or rather has direct effects on how we process the outcomes of our actions, and our experience of agency over them. Participants made voluntary actions whose outcomes were more or less negative. Presence of another potential agent reduced participants' sense of agency over those outcomes, even though it was always obvious who caused each outcome. Further, presence of another agent reduced the amplitude of feedback-related negativity evoked by outcome stimuli, suggesting reduced outcome monitoring. The presence of other agents may lead to diffusion of responsibility by weakening the neural linkage between one's actions and their outcomes.

Type: Article
Title: Beyond self-serving bias: diffusion of responsibility reduces sense of agency and outcome monitoring
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsw160
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsw160
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author (2016). Published by Oxford University Press. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: FRN, diffusion of responsibility, outcome monitoring, sense of agency, social interaction
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/1527107
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