November 24, 2020

New measures of agency from an adaptive sensorimotor task

Self-agency, the sense that one is the author or owner of one’s behaviors, is impaired in multiple psychological and neurological disorders, including functional movement disorders (FMDs), Parkinson’s Disease, alien hand syndrome, schizophrenia, and dystonia. Existing assessments of self-agency, many of which focus on agency of movement, can be prohibitively time-consuming and often yield ambiguous results. Here, we introduce a short online motion tracking task that quantifies movement agency through both first-order perceptual and second-order metacognitive judgments. The task assesses the degree to which a participant can distinguish between a motion stimulus whose trajectory is influenced by the participant’s cursor movements and a motion stimulus whose trajectory is random. We demonstrate the task’s reliability in healthy participants and discuss how its efficiency, reliability, and ease of online implementation make it a promising new tool for both diagnosing and understanding disorders of agency.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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