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  Agency and responsibility over body movements induced through brain-computer interfaces

Nierula, B., Spanlang, B., Martini, M., Borrell, M., Nikulin, V. V., & Sanchez-Vives, M. V. (2018). Agency and responsibility over body movements induced through brain-computer interfaces. Poster presented at International HBP Conference: Understanding Consciousness, Barcelona, Spain.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-B54C-B Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-B54D-A
Genre: Poster

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 Creators:
Nierula, Birgit1, Author              
Spanlang, Bernhard 1, Author
Martini, Matteo 1, Author
Borrell, Mireia 1, Author
Nikulin, Vadim V.1, 2, Author              
Sanchez-Vives, Maria V. 1, Author
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1External Organizations, ou_persistent22              
2Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_634549              

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 Abstract: [Introduction/Motivation:] Body ownership and agency are both closely related to self-consciousness. While body ownership refers to the experience of owning a body, agency refers to the attribution of an action to the Self and is further a prerequisite for experiencing a sense of responsibility over the consequences of the action. In spite of having been substantially studied, the neural underpinnings of agency are not yet clear. For example, brain stimulation studies and computational models of agency suggest an involvement of sensorimotor areas in the sense of agency [1], while behavioral experiments show that high levels of body ownership over a surrogate (such as a virtual) body are already sufficient to induce illusory agency over its actions [2,3]. We therefore aimed to investigate the role of sensorimotor areas in the feeling of agency and responsibility. [Methods:] We used two different brain-computer interface (BCI) paradigms to control a virtual body, which were based on the activation of either sensorimotor or visual areas. In the sensorimotor condition participants moved a virtual arm using a BCI based on motor imagery and in the visual condition they moved the arm using a BCI based on visual evoked potentials. We also compared agency and responsibility ratings to a third observation condition, in which the virtual arm was passively moved. [Results and Discussion:] In both cases requiring sensorimotor or visual area activation, the intention to act and the results of the action were the same. However, we found that agency was maximum and responsibility only occurred in the motor imagery condition. Thus, these results show the critical role of sensorimotor areas in inducing the sense of agency and responsibility. Our results thus provide evidence for the hypothesis that motor activity contributes to forming the sense of agency and is essential for the sense of responsibility. This further contributes to a better understanding of agency and responsibility in the context of BCI and how the selection of BCI paradigms makes a difference on the self-attribution of actions.

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 Dates: 2018-06-21
 Publication Status: Not specified
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Title: International HBP Conference: Understanding Consciousness
Place of Event: Barcelona, Spain
Start-/End Date: 2018-06-21 - 2018-06-22

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