synofzik2013: The experience of agency: an interplay between prediction and postdiction

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Predictive Processing, Brain
Synofzik, M., Vosgerau, G., & Voss, M.

EoA = Experience of Agency.

This paper proposes a unifying approach/model which unifies predictive and postdictive processes. They hypothesis that predictive and postdictive processes are both integrated by the brain according to the principles of optimal cue integration.

Both predictive and postdictive processes serve as authorship cues that are continuously integrated and weighted depending on their availability and reliability in a given situation.

Postdictive vs Predictive accounts of agency

In a postdictive account of agency processing, the experience of agency is seen as the produce of a post-hoc inference during and after the action has occurred, rather than a result of direct access to one’s cognitive and motor preparation processes preceding one’s action. The experience of agency for a particular event comes in degrees:

  1. Exclusivity: when one’s action is the exclusive potential cause of the event
  2. Priority: when one has prior thoughts or plans about the action
  3. Consistency: when the occurred action matches the action that was planned

In the predictive account elaborate on computational model of sensorimotor integration. They hypothesize that the EoA for a given action arises from internal motor representations associated with generating the movement that precede the action. One such account is the comparator model which accounts for an internal prediction about the sensory consequences of one’s actions generated based on an efference copy of the motor command. These can be compared to actual sensory state: if the sensory state matches the prediction the action is registered as externally caused, if the sensory state doesn’t it is externally caused. This is not purely predictive as external postdictive information is needed to compare to the predictions, it is generally seen as placing more emphasis on the role of the predicted sensorimotor states.