Sense of Agency

A sense of agency refers to the subjective experience of being the initiator of an action and having control over that action. In the field of neurological research and therapy, investigating the sense of agency has been a key focus of study for several decades. Understanding how the brain processes and controls voluntary movement, and how this relates to the perception of agency, is important for developing new interventions and treatments for neurological disorders. The sense of agency involves the integration of perception, motor control and action outcomes, which are all processed within the brain. Recent research has shown that a range of mental processes, including sensory feedback, prediction, attention, and decision-making, all contribute to the sense of agency. One well-established model of the sense of agency proposes that when individuals perform a voluntary action, they generate an internal prediction of what should happen based on the intended action. Any discrepancies between the predicted outcome and the actual outcome of the action can then be used to update the internal representation of the action, contributing to the sense of agency. Disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, and stroke have been shown to impact an individual's sense of agency. In people with schizophrenia, for example, abnormalities in the brain's predictive processes have been linked to their experience of reduced agency. Similarly, individuals with depression often report feeling a lack of agency and control over their lives. Studying the sense of agency in individuals with neurological disorders can help clinicians develop more effective diagnostic strategies and treatments for these conditions. Overall, understanding the sense of agency is crucial for developing new therapies and interventions for neurological disorders. By studying the brain's relationship with voluntary action and its perception of control, researchers can generate new insights into the causes of neurological disorders and develop new strategies for treating them.

From: Neurobiology

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