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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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Inference Processes Underlying the Human Experience of Agency over Operant Actions

Inference Processes Underlying the Human Experience of Agency over Operant Actions

(p.199) 8 Inference Processes Underlying the Human Experience of Agency over Operant Actions
The Sense of Agency

Myrthel Dogge

Henk Aarts

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses to cognitive inferences of self-agency over operant actions and how these inferences can draw upon unconscious (implicit) sources of information. The main processes subsidizing the experience of self-agency are predictive motor processes based on the likelihood that an action produces an effect, and inference processes based on the correspondence between action outcomes and previously activated knowledge concerning these outcomes. Recently it has been proposed that inferences processes may also produce agency experiences when implicitly pre-activated (or primed) knowledge about action-outcomes matches with the observation of the actual outcomes. The chapter presents studies on this unconscious authorship ascription process by showing when and how the mere pre-activation of knowledge pertaining to information concerning the agent, sensory effects, and socially relevant outcomes modulates people’s feeling of agency. Recent insights into disruptions of agency inferences as well as the neural basis of implicit and explicit inference processes are briefly discussed.

Keywords:   agency inferences, goals, inference process, unconscious, action outcome

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