Awareness of agency: Three levels of analysis

In Thomas Metzinger (ed.), Neural Correlates of Consciousness. MIT Press 307--24 (2000)
This paper discusses the content of agency awareness. It contrast three elements in content: what the goal is, how it is to be reached, and who is having the goal/performing the action ? Marc Jeannerod's claim that goal representations are self-other neutral is discussed. If goal representations are essentially sharable, then we do not understand other people by projecting a piece of internal knowledge on to them, as often assumed. The problem which our brain has to solve is the converse problem : determining who the agent is, once a goal is identified. This view has interesting consequences on the theory of mentalization. One can plausibly speculate that observing action, with an additional simulatory component for action memory, form major building blocks in understanding other minds. Metarepresenting, in this perspective, would depend on additional executive capacities for maintaining distinct the inferences from diverse simulated contexts of action.
Keywords *Awareness  *Consciousness States  *Internal External Locus of Control  *Neural Pathways  *Theory of Mind  Neurophysiology  Physiological Correlates  Self Determination
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Joelle Proust (2003). Thinking of Oneself as the Same. Consciousness and Cognition 12 (4):495-509.
J. Proust (1999). Self Model and Schizophrenia. Consciousness and Cognition 8 (3):378-384.

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