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Journal Article

Planning not to do something: Does intending not to do something activate associated sensory consequences?


Kühn,  Simone
University of Ghent, Belgium;
Department Psychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Department of Experimental Psychology and Ghent Institute for Functional and Metabolic Imaging, Ghent, Belgium;

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Kühn, S., & Brass, M. (2010). Planning not to do something: Does intending not to do something activate associated sensory consequences? Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience, 10(4), 454-459. doi:10.3758/CABN.10.4.454.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0011-2DDE-D
The present fMRI study investigated the central assumptions of ideomotor theory that actions become associated with their sensory consequences. Furthermore, we tested whether sensory effects can also become associated with the voluntary omission of an action. In a training phase, participants had to decide between executing an action and not executing it. Both decisions were followed by a specific effect tone. In the test phase, the participants had to carry out actions without hearing the effect tone. They either had to decide whether to execute an action or not or were instructed to execute an action or not. Our results reveal an increased activity in the auditory cortex elicited by responses that formerly elicited a tone-namely, self-chosen actions and selfchosen nonactions. Moreover, we found binding effects for stimulus-cued actions, but not for stimulus-cued nonactions. These findings support ideomotor theory by showing that a link exists between actions and their effects. Furthermore, our data demonstrate on a neural level that effect tones can become associated with intentionally not acting, therewith supporting the idea of a binding between the voluntary omission of an action and its effects in the environment. © 2010 The Psychonomic Society, Inc.