As part of the Psychology Seminar Series, Dr Sidarus discusses prospective contributions to sense of agency
Human voluntary action is typically accompanied by an experience of being in control of our actions and their consequences, referred to a sense of agency. Previous research has shown that the sense of agency relies on a retrospective comparison between expected and observed action outcomes.
Our work has shown that there is also a prospective component to the sense of agency, related to the metacognitive monitoring of decision-making processes. Difficult decisions reduce our sense of agency over action outcomes. These effects generalise across tasks, from unconscious to conscious manipulations, in dynamic video games, and in social contexts.
I will discuss the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying these prospective contributions to the sense of agency, and how they are integrated with outcome-related information. Furthermore, I will consider the implications of this work for understanding decision-making and learning processes, in both individual and social contexts.
Nura Sidarus is a Lecturer in the Department of Psychology, at Royal Holloway University of London. Nura completed an MSc and a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience, at University College London, before receiving a Fyssen Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship to work at the École Normale Supérieure, in Paris. Her research investigates how we come to feel in control of our actions and their consequences, and how this interacts with decision-making and learning. Combining cognitive, computational, and neuroimaging methods, her work aims to elucidate the (meta)cognitive mechanisms that support how we monitor and control our cognition and our actions. Thanks to an ESRC New Investigator Grant, she is also starting to explore how these (meta)cognitive processes may become maladaptive and underlie psychiatric symptoms, such as depression.
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