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J Vis. 2019 Apr 1;19(4):14. doi: 10.1167/19.4.14.

The boundaries of the self: The sense of agency across different sensorimotor aspects.

Author information

Gonda Brain Research Center, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel.
Beer Yaakov-Ness Ziona Mental Health Center, Beer Yaakov, Israel.


The sense of agency (SoA) is the sensation of control over our actions. SoA is thought to rely mainly upon the comparison of predictions regarding the sensory outcomes of one's actions and the actual sensory outcomes. Previous studies have shown that when a discrepancy is introduced between one's actions and the sensory feedback, the reported SoA is reduced. Experimental manipulations of SoA are typically induced by introducing a discrepancy between a motor action and visual feedback of a specific sensorimotor aspect. For example, introducing a delay or a spatial deviation between the action and its sensory feedback reduces SoA. However, it is yet unclear whether the sensorimotor prediction processes underlying SoA are related between different aspects. Here in one exploratory and one preregistered experiment we tested the sense of agency across temporal, spatial, and anatomical aspects in a within-subject design. Using a novel virtual-reality task allowing the manipulation of the visual feedback of a motor action across different aspects, we show that the sensitivity of agency is different across aspects, agency judgments are correlated across aspects within subjects and bias toward attributing the viewed action to the self or to an external source is correlated as well. Our results suggest that sensorimotor prediction mechanisms underlying SoA are related between different aspects and that people have a predisposition for the directionality of agency judgments. These findings reveal the psychophysical attributes of SoA across sensorimotor aspects. Data and preregistration are available at


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