The time windows of the sense of agency

Conscious Cogn. 2013 Dec;22(4):1431-41. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2013.09.010. Epub 2013 Oct 24.


The sense of agency depends on some internal cues that derive from action control, as well as external cues like contextual information and prior information (degree of contingency between an action and is effect). We assessed whether external agency cues are combined with internal agency cues to affect the sense of agency. In two experiments participants performed a movement (button press) that elicited, after a varying delay, an effect (ball appearing on a screen), and reported their sense of agency over the effect (full, partial or no-agency) while internal cues (premotor information) and external cues (contextual and prior information) were manipulated. We assessed the effect of agency cues on the delays at which the sense of agency varied. The delays were increased with premotor signals but were decreased with contextual information. These findings favour a model of integration of internal and external agency cues over time.

Keywords: Contextual information; Prior information; Sense of agency; Time window of integration.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cues*
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult