A Metacognitive Model of the Sense of Agency over Thoughts

Cognitive Neuropsychiatry 17 (4):291-314 (2012)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Introduction. The sense of agency over thoughts is the experience of oneself qua agent of mental action. Those suffering certain psychotic symptoms are thought to have a deficient sense of agency. Here I seek to explain this sense of agency in terms of metacognition. Method. I start with the proposal that the sense of agency is elicited by metacognitive monitoring representations that are used in the intentional inhibition of thoughts. I apply this model to verbal hallucinations and the like and examine the plausibility of this model explaining deficits associated with these symptoms. Results. By tying the sense of agency to metacognitive inhibition I propose that the loss of a sense of agency in certain psychotic symptoms is accompanied by a particular deficit in the patient’s ability to control their own thinking. This is consistent with the experiences of those at high risk of developing hallucinations, who report more intrusive thoughts than controls. The model I present is able to explain why those at risk of developing verbal hallucinations and those suffering from verbal hallucinations have deficits in the intentional inhibition of thought. I defend this account from a possible objection by distinguishing the form of the intentional inhibition deficit displayed by those suffering verbal hallucination from that displayed by those suffering from orbital-frontal cortex lesions and posttraumatic stress disorder. Conclusion. A plausible hypothesis is that the sense of agency over thoughts is elicited by the metacognitive monitoring representation used to intentionally inhibit



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,907

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The natural philosophy of agency.Shaun Gallagher - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (2):347–357.
A problem for Wegner and colleagues' model of the sense of agency.Glenn Carruthers - 2010 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 9 (3):341-357.
Commentary on Synofzik, Vosgerau and Newen.Glenn Carruthers - 2009 - Consciousness and Cognition 18 (2):515 - 520.
Multiple aspects of agency.Shaun Gallagher - 2010 - New Ideas in Psychology.
The Sense of Control and the Sense of Agency.Elisabeth Pacherie - 2007 - PSYCHE: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research On Consciousness 13:1 - 30.
Can you think my 'I'-thoughts?Daniel Morgan - 2009 - Philosophical Quarterly 59 (234):68-85.
Do dolphins know their own minds?Derek Browne - 2004 - Biology and Philosophy 19 (4):633-53.


Added to PP

118 (#155,143)

6 months
3 (#1,037,581)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Glenn Carruthers
Macquarie University (PhD)

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references