Action co-representation and the sense of agency during a joint Simon task: Comparing human and machine co-agents

Conscious Cogn. 2019 Jan;67:44-55. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2018.11.008. Epub 2018 Dec 3.


Recent studies have suggested that individuals are not able to develop a sense of joint agency during joint actions with artificial systems. We sought to examine whether this lack of joint agency is linked to individuals' inability to co-represent the machine-generated actions. Fifteen participants observed or performed a Simon response time task either individually, or jointly with another human or a computer. Participants reported the time interval between their response (or the co-actor response) and a subsequent auditory stimulus, which served as an implicit measure of participants' sense of agency. Participants' reaction times showed a classical Simon effect when they were partnered with another human, but not when they collaborated with a computer. Furthermore, participants showed a vicarious sense of agency when co-acting with another human agent but not with a computer. This absence of vicarious sense of agency during human-computer interactions and the relation with action co-representation are discussed.

Keywords: Action co-representation; Cooperation; Human-computer interaction; Joint Simon task; Sense of agency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Computers
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*
  • Young Adult