The Anarchic Hand Syndrome and Utilization Behavior: A Window onto Agentive Self-Awareness

Functional Neurology 22 (4):211 - 217 (2007)
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Abstract

Two main approaches can be discerned in the literature on agentive self-awareness: a top-down approach, according to which agentive self-awareness is fundamentally holistic in nature and involves the operations of a central-systems narrator, and a bottom-up approach that sees agentive self-awareness as produced by lowlevel processes grounded in the very machinery responsible for motor production and control. Neither approach is entirely satisfactory if taken in isolation; however, the question of whether their combination would yield a full account of agentive self-awareness remains very much open. In this paper, I contrast two disorders affecting the control of voluntary action: the anarchic hand syndrome and utilization behavior. Although in both conditions patients fail to inhibit actions that are elicited by objects in the environment but inappropriate with respect to the wider context, these actions are experienced in radically different ways by the two groups of patients. I discuss how top-down and bottom-up processes involved in the generation of agentive self-awareness would have to be related in order to account for these differences.

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Elisabeth Pacherie
Institut Jean Nicod

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