A metacognitive model of the feeling of agency over bodily actions

Glenn Carruthers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


I offer a new metacognitive account of the feeling of agency over bodily actions. According to this model, the feeling of agency is the metacognitive monitoring of 2 cues: (1) smoothness of action, done via monitoring the output of the comparison between actual and predicted sensory consequences of action; and (2) action outcome, done via monitoring the outcome of action and its success relative to a prior intention. Previous research has shown that the comparator model offers a powerful explanation of the feeling of agency. However, within the literature, there is a growing sense of dissatisfaction with the model; a consensus seems to be building that the model is not up to the task of explaining all of the new discoveries since its inception regarding the feeling of agency. Most problematically, current paradigms seriously challenge the comparator model by suggesting that a weak feeling of agency can be elicited even when no motor prediction is formed. The new account offered here inherits the explanatory power of the comparator model while avoiding this problem. (APA PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-221
Number of pages12
JournalPsychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice
Issue number3
Early online date2015
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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