Agency in schizophrenia from a control theory viewpointReport as inadecuate

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1 IJN - Institut Jean-Nicod

Abstract : Experience of agency in patients with schizophrenia involves an interesting dissociation; these patients demonstrate that one can have a thought or perform an action consciously (ie. have the sense of ownership for this action) without being conscious of thinking or acting as the motivated agent, author of that thought or of that action (without having the sense of agency associated with it). This chapter examines several interesting accounts of this dissociation, and aims at showing how they can be generalized to thought insertion phenomena. It is argued that control theory allows such a generalization; three different comparators need to be distinguished: the sense of subjectivity relies on a comparator in which motivation and emotion play a structuring role. The sense of agency emerges in a system that delivers a rough categorization of self-generated – versus other- generated – actions and mental activities. A third system specializes in the social evaluation of the effects of an action, intention or other thought process, given certain goals in self or in others.

Keywords : 1. metacognition 2. metarepresentation 3. schizophrenia 4. Sense of agency 5. sense of ownership

Author: Joëlle Proust -



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