Description : Agency has two meanings in psychology and neuroscience. It can refer to one's capacity to affect the world and act in line with one's goals and desires--this is the objective aspect of agency. But agency can also refer to the subjective experience of controlling one's actions, or how it feels to achieve one's goals or affect the world. This subjective aspect is known as the sense of agency, and it is an important part of what makes us human. Interest in the sense of agency has exploded since the early 2000s, largely because scientists have learned that it can be studied objectively through analyses of human judgment, behavior, and the brain. This book brings together some of the world's leading researchers to give structure to this nascent but rapidly growing field. The contributors address questions such as: What role does agency play in the sense of self? Is agency based on predicting outcomes of actions? And what are the links between agency and motivation? Recent work on the sense of agency has been markedly interdisciplinary. The chapters collected here combine ideas and methods from fields as diverse as engineering, psychology, neurology, neuroscience, and philosophy of mind, making the book a valuable resource for any student or researcher interested in action, volition, and exploring how mind and brain are organized.
Description : Not nothing without you but not the same Erich Fried (1979) How do I know that I am the person who is moving? The neuroscience of action has identified specific cognitive processes that allow the organism to refer the cause or origin of an action to its agent. This sense of agency has been defined as the sense that I am the one who is causing or generating an action or a certain thought in my stream of consciousness. As such, one can distinguish actions that are self-generated from those generated by others, giving rise to the experience of a self-other disti- tion in the domain of action. A tentative list of the features distinguishing the concept of agency includes awareness of a goal, of an intention to act, and of initiation of action; awareness of movements; a sense of activity, of mental effort, and of control; and the concept of authorship. However, it remains unclear how these various aspects of action and agency are related, to what extent they are dissociable, and whether some are more basic than others. Their sources remain to be specified and their relationship to action specification and action control mechanism is as yet unknown.
Description : The sense of agency is defined as the sense of oneself as the agent of one's own actions. This also allows oneself to feel distinct from others, and contributes to the subjective phenomenon of self-consciousness (Gallagher, 2000). Distinguishing oneself from others is arguably one of the most important functions of the human brain. Even minor impairments in this ability profoundly affect the individual’s functioning in society as demonstrated by psychiatric and neurological syndromes involving agency disturbances (Della Sala et al., 1991; Franck et al., 2001; Frith, 2005; Sirigu et al., 1999). But the sense of agency also plays a role for cultural and religious phenomena such as voodoo, superstition and gambling, in which individuals experience subjective control over objectively uncontrollable entities (Wegner, 2003). Furthermore, it plays into ethical and law questions concerning responsibility and guilt. For these reasons a better understanding of the sense of agency has been important for neuroscientists, clinicians, philosophers of mind and the general society alike. Significant progress has been made in this regard. For example, philosophical scrutiny has helped establish the conceptual boundaries of the sense of agency (Bayne, 2011; Gallagher, 2000, 2012; Pacherie 2008; Synofzik et al., 2008) and scientific investigations have shed light on the neurocognitive basis of sense of agency including the brain regions supporting sense of agency (Chambon et al., 2013; David et al., 2007; Farrer et al., 2003, 2008; Spengler et al., 2009; Tsakiris et al., 2010; Yomogida et al., 2010). Despite this progress there remain a number of outstanding questions such as: • Are there cross-cultural differences in the sense of agency? • How does the sense of agency develop in infants or change across the lifespan? • How does social context influence sense of agency? • What neural networks support sense of agency (i.e., connectivity and communication between brain regions)? • What are the temporal dynamics with respect to neural processes underlying the sense of agency (i.e. the what and when of agency processing)? • How can different cue models of the sense of agency be further specified and empirically supported, especially with regards to cue integration/ weighting? • What are the applications of sense of agency research (clinically, engineering etc.)? The concept of the sense of agency offers intriguing avenues for knowledge transfer across disciplines and interdisciplinary empirical approaches, especially in addressing the afore-mentioned outstanding questions. The aim of the present research topic is to promote and facilitate such interdisciplinarity for a better understanding of why and how we typically experience our own actions so naturally and undoubtedly as “ours” and what goes awry when we do not. We, thus, welcome contributions from, for example, (i) neuroscience and psychology (including development psychology/ neuroscience), (ii) psychiatry and neurology, (iii) philosophy, (iv) robotics, and (v) computational modeling. In addition to empirical or scientific studies of the sense of agency, we also encourage theoretical contributions including reviews, models, and opinions.
Description : Leading philosophers and psychologists join forces to investigate a set of problems to do with agency and self-awareness, in seventeen specially written essays. In recent years there has been much psychological and neurological work purporting to show that consciousness and self-awareness playno role in causing actions, and indeed to demonstrate that free will is an illusion. The essays in this volume subject the assumptions that motivate such claims to sustained interdisciplinary scrutiny.Patients with Anarchic Hand syndrome sometimes find their hands perform apparently goal-directed actions which the patients disown, yet seem to be unable to suppress (for example, reaching out for someone else's food in a restaurant). On the face of it, these patients lack the kind of control andself-awareness we ordinarily take ourselves to have when acting intentionally. Questions raised by this phenomenon include: What is involved in being aware of an action as one's own? What is the nature of the control these patients are lacking and which characterizes normal intentional actions? Whatis the relation between a priori explanations of consciousness and self-consciousness, on the one hand, and empirical work on the information-processing mechanisms involved in action control, on the other?Questions of action control and self-awareness tend to be treated separately in both philosophy and psychology. The central idea behind this volume is that outstanding unresolved issues on both topics, and in both disciplines, can only be resolved by an interdisciplinary examination of the relationsbetween them. The editors' useful introductory essay offers a guide to cross-disciplinary reading of the contributions, and makes connections between them explicit. The book will be compulsory reading for psychologists and philosophers working on action explanation, and for anyone interested in therelation between the brain sciences and consciousness.
Description : Human infants do not seem to be born with concepts of self or joint attention. One basic goal of Agency and Joint Attention is to unravel how these abilities originate. One approach that has received a lot of recent attention is social. Some argue that by virtue of an infant's intense eye gaze with her mother, she is able, by the age of four months, to establish a relationship with her mother that differentiates between "me" and "you." At about twelve months, the infant acquires the non-verbal ability to share attention with her mother or other caregivers. Although the concepts of self and joint attention are nonverbal and uniquely human, the question remains, how do we establish metacognitive control of these abilities? A tangential question is whether nonhuman animals develop abilities that are analogous to self and joint attention. Much of this volume is devoted to the development of metacognition of self and joint attention in experiments on the origin of consciousness, knowing oneself, social referencing, joint action, the neurological basis of joint attention, the role of joint action, mirror neurons, phenomenology, and cues for agency.
Description : There is growing evidence from the science of human behavior that our everyday, folk understanding of ourselves as conscious, rational, responsible agents may be radically mistaken. The science, some argue, recommends a view of conscious agency as merely epiphenomenal: an impotent accompaniment to the whirring unconscious machinery (the inner zombie) that prepares, decides and causes our behavior. The new essays in this volume display and explore this radical claim, revisiting the folk concept of the responsible agent after abandoning the image of a central executive, and "decomposing" the notion of the conscious will into multiple interlocking aspects and functions. Part 1 of this volume provides an overview of the scientific research that has been taken to support "the zombie challenge." In part 2, contributors explore the phenomenology of agency and what it is like to be the author of one's own actions. Part 3 then explores different strategies for using the science and phenomenology of human agency to respond to the zombie challenge. Questions explored include: what distinguishes automatic behavior and voluntary action? What, if anything, does consciousness contribute to the voluntary control of behavior? What does the science of human behavior really tell us about the nature of self-control?
Description : Annotation "This volume presents essays on self-consciousness by prominent psychologists, cognitive neurologists, and philosophers. The different contributions in the volume amply demonstrate that self-consciousness is a complex multifaceted phenomenon that calls for an integration of different complementary interdisciplinary perspectives."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Description : An overview of today's diverse theoretical and methodological approaches to action and the relationship of action and cognition. The emerging field of action science is characterized by a diversity of theoretical and methodological approaches that share the basic functional belief that evolution has optimized cognitive systems to serve the demands of action. This book brings together the constitutive approaches of action science in a single source, covering the relation of action to such cognitive functions as perception, attention, memory, and volition. Each chapter offers a tutorial-like description of a major line of inquiry, written by a leading scientist in the field. Taken together, the chapters reflect a dynamic and rapidly growing field and provide a forum for comparison and possible integration of approaches. After discussing core questions about how actions are controlled and learned, the book considers ecological approaches to action science; neurocogntive approaches to action understanding and attention; developmental approaches to action science; social actions, including imitation and joint action; and the relationships between action and the conceptual system (grounded cognition) and between volition and action. An emerging discipline depends on a rich and multifaceted supply of theoretical and methodological approaches. The diversity of perspectives offered in this book will serve as a guide for future explorations in action science. Contributors Lawrence W. Barsalou, Miriam Beisert, Valerian Chambon, Thomas Goschke, Patrick Haggard, Arvid Herwig, Herbert Heuer, Cecilia Heyes, Bernhard Hommel, Glyn W. Humphreys, Richard B. Ivry, Markus Kiefer, Günther Knoblich, Sally A. Linkenauger, Janeen D. Loehr, Peter J. Marshall, Andrew N. Meltzoff, Wolfgang Prinz, Dennis R. Proffitt, Giacomo Rizzolatti, David A. Rosenbaum, Natalie Sebanz, Corrado Sinigaglia, Sandra Sülzenbrück, Jordan A. Taylor, Michael T. Turvey, Claes von Hofsten, Rebecca A. Williamson
Description : A Companion to the Philosophy of Time presents thebroadest treatment of this subject yet; 32 specially commissionedarticles - written by an international line-up of experts –provide an unparalleled reference work for students and specialistsalike in this exciting field. The most comprehensive reference work on the philosophy of timecurrently available The first collection to tackle the historical development ofthe philosophy of time in addition to covering contemporarywork Provides a tripartite approach in its organization, coveringhistory of the philosophy of time, time as a feature of thephysical world, and time as a feature of experience Includes contributions from both distinguished,well-established scholars and rising stars in the field
Description : If the reader will excuse a brief anecdote from my own intellectual history, I would like to use it as an introduction to this book. In 1957, I was a sophomore at an undergraduate liberal arts college major ing in medieval history. This was the year that we were receiving our first introduction to courses in philosophy, and I took to this study with a passion. In pursuing philosophy, I discovered the area called "philosophical psychology," which was a Thomistic category of inquiry. For me, "philosophical psychology" meant a more intimate study of the soul (psyche), and I immediately concluded that psychology as a discipline must be about this pursuit. This philosophical interest led me to enroll in my first introductory psychology course. Our text for this course was the first edition of Ernest Hilgaard's Introduction to Psychology. My reasons for entering this course were anticipated in the introductory chapter of Hilgaard's book, where the discipline and its boundaries were discussed, and this introduction was to disabuse me of my original intention for enrolling in the course. I was to learn that, in the 20th century, people who called themselves psychologists were no longer interested in perennial philosophical questions about the human psyche or person. In fact, these philosophical questions were considered to be obscurantist and passe. Psychology was now the "scientific" study of human behavior. This definition of psychology by Hilgaard was by no means idiosyncratic to this introductory textbook.