Acting in the world is accompanied by a sense of agency, or experience of control over our actions and their outcomes. As humans, we can report on this experience through judgments of agency. These judgments often occur under noisy conditions. We examined the computations underlying judgments of agency, in particular under the influence of sensory noise. Building on previous literature, we studied whether judgments of agency incorporate uncertainty in the same way that confidence judgments do, which would imply that the former share computational mechanisms with metacognitive judgments. In two tasks, participants rated agency, or confidence in a decision about their agency, over a virtual hand that tracked their movements, either synchronously or with a delay and either under high or low noise. We compared the predictions of two computational models to participants’ ratings and found that agency ratings, unlike confidence, were best explained by a model involving no estimates of sensory noise. We propose that agency judgments reflect first-order measures of the internal signal, without involving metacognitive computations, challenging the assumed link between the two cognitive processes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- !!General Immunology and Microbiology
- !!General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- !!General Neuroscience