Being the agent: Memory for action events

Consciousness and Cognition 12 (4):670-683 (2003)
Abstract
Whoever paid the bill at the restaurant last night, will clearly remember doing it. Independently from the type of action, it is a common experience that being the agent provides a special strength to our memories. Even if it is generally agreed that personal memories (episodic memory) rely on separate neural substrates with respect to general knowledge (semantic memory), little is known on the nature of the link between memory and the sense of agency. In the present paper, we review results from two experiments investigating the effects of agency on both explicit and implicit memory traces. Performance of normal subjects is compared to that of schizophrenic patients in order to explore the role of awareness of action on memory. It is proposed that reliable first-person information is necessary to create a stable and coherent motor memory trace.
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