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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 by If-Then Planning

Action Control by If-Then Planning

Explicating the Mechanisms of Strategic Automaticity in Regard to Objective and Subjective Agency

Chapter:
(p.63) 3 Action Control by If-Then Planning
Source:
The Sense of Agency
Author(s):

Torsten Martiny-Huenger

Sarah E. Martiny

Peter M. Gollwitzer

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190267278.003.0003

This chapter explicates the mechanisms of if-then planning (i.e. implementation intentions), namely, how verbal action planning leads to subsequent stimulus-driven action control—a mechanism referred to as strategic automaticity. The chapter first reviews evidence from behavioral studies indicating that action control by if-then planning can exhibit features associated with automatic action initiation; it is fast, effortless, and does not depend on another in situ conscious intent. The chapter explicates underlying mechanisms of if-then planning by integrating current simulation theories of cognition and action control into implementation intention theory. The chapter also focuses on subjective agency: on the basis of currently available evidence on how humans gain a feeling of control, it analyzes how if-then planning may affect one’s sense of agency. The chapter focuses on if-then planning as an ideal type of planning; the mechanisms proposed, however, may be relevant to action planning in a more general sense.

Keywords:   if-then planning, implementation intentions, strategic automaticity, agency, sense of agency, action control

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