Sense of agency is modulated by interactions between action choice, outcome valence, and predictability

Takumi Tanaka, Hideaki Kawabata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Sense of agency is a feeling of control over one’s actions to cause sensory events in one’s environment. While previous studies investigated the role of action choice and emotional valence of action outcome in forming implicit agency, the results were not consistent and the relationship between these factors remains unclear. We manipulated both action alternatives available and emotional valences of sounds (either positive or negative) as action outcomes and measured the resultant intentional binding effects in two experiments that differed in predictability of outcome valence. When participants could not predict the valence of action outcomes, they showed stronger sense of agency for negative outcomes determined by their free choice (Experiment 1). Conversely, when participants’ actions caused only outcomes with specific valence, this interaction was not observed (Experiment 2). These findings imply that the implicit processes of agency reflect an integrative context-dependent cognition of consequence of action choice, prior to explicit attribution judgments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1795-1806
Number of pages12
JournalCurrent Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Apr


  • Action choice
  • Action-outcome predictability
  • Emotional valence
  • Intentional binding
  • Sense of agency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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