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The Sense of Agency$
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Patrick Haggard and Baruch Eitam

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190267278

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190267278.001.0001

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Action Control and the Sense of Agency

Action Control and the Sense of Agency

(p.307) 14 Action Control and the Sense of Agency
The Sense of Agency

Bernhard Hommel

Oxford University Press

People’s behavior is often impossible to predict and to understand based on the stimulus condition and the environment in which the behavior occurs. People carry out very different actions in response to the same stimuli, and respond to very different stimuli by means of the same action, if they only have reasons to do so or a goal that has motivated and is satisfied by that action. Planning and executing goal-directed behavior requires knowledge about means-ends relationships (i.e. which goals can be reached by means of which actions/movements), which implies knowledge about which goals can be reached by the agent him- or herself and which cannot. In the literature, the latter kind of knowledge has been assumed to emerge from a so-called sense of agency. Unfortunately, the term is rather ill-defined and used differently by different authors, creating considerable confusion with respect to at least three different, relatively orthogonal dimensions.

Keywords:   environment, stimulus condition, goals, actions, sense of agency

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