Inferring sense of agency from the quantitative aspect of action outcome

Consciousness and Cognition 22 (2):407-412 (2013)
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Abstract

The sense of agency refers to an experience in which one’s own action causes a change in environment. It is strongly modulated by both the contingency between action and its outcome and the consistency between predicted and actual action outcomes. Recent studies have suggested that the action outcome can retrospectively modulate action awareness. We suspect that the sense of agency can also be retrospectively modulated. This study examined whether the quantity of action outcome could influence the sense of agency. The participants’ task was to trigger dot motion in a display and rate the extent to which they could control the initiation of dot motion. Independently of both the temporal contiguity between action and its outcome and the consistency between predicted and actual action outcomes, the speed of dot motion as an action’s outcome strongly influenced the sense of agency rating. The present study suggests that the sense of agency stems partly from the inference of action efficiency based on the quantitative aspect of action outcome

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