An exploratory fMRI study into inferences of self-agency

Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2015 May;10(5):708-12. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsu106. Epub 2014 Aug 27.


Building on the recent findings that the experience of self-agency over actions and corresponding outcomes can also rely on cognitive inferential processes, rather than motor prediction processes, this study aims to investigate the brain areas involved in agency inference processing in a setting where action and outcome are independent. Twenty-three right-handed subjects were scanned using functional MRI while performing an agency inference task, in which action outcomes matched or mismatched goals. The experience of self-agency was associated with increased activation in the inferior parietal lobule as well as the bilateral (medial) superior frontal cortex and medial prefrontal cortex. These findings provide new and exciting insights in the processing of inferential self-agency, providing a first look at the neural correlates of self-agency processing independent of motor-prediction processes.

Keywords: fMRI; inference; matching; medial prefrontal cortex; self-agency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain Mapping
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Cues
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology
  • Goals
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Reaction Time
  • Self Concept*
  • Young Adult