Feelings of control: contingency determines experience of action

Moore, James W.; Lagnado, David; Deal, Darvany C. and Haggard, Patrick. 2009. Feelings of control: contingency determines experience of action. Cognition, 110(2), pp. 279-83. ISSN 1873-7838 [Article]

CognitionMooreText.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (291kB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

The experience of causation is a pervasive product of the human mind. Moreover, the experience of causing an event alters subjective time: actions are perceived as temporally shifted towards their effects [Haggard, P., Clark, S., & Kalogeras, J. (2002). Voluntary action and conscious awareness. Nature Neuroscience, 5(4), 382-385]. This temporal shift depends partly on advance prediction of the effects of action, and partly on inferential "postdictive" explanations of sensory effects of action. We investigated whether a single factor of statistical contingency could explain both these aspects of causal experience. We studied the time at which people perceived a simple manual action to occur, when statistical contingency indicated a causal relation between action and effect, and when no such relation was indicated. Both predictive and inferential "postdictive" shifts in the time of action depended on strong contingency between action and effect. The experience of agency involves a process of causal learning based on statistical contingency.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Departments, Centres and Research Units:




Item ID:


Date Deposited:

10 Feb 2012 11:14

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:33

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)