© 2010

Neuropsychology of the Sense of Agency

From Consciousness to Action

  • Michela Balconi 

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Cognition, Consciousness and Agency

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Jérôme Dokic
      Pages 23-43
  3. Brain, Agency and Self-agency: Neuropsychological Contributions to the Development of the Sense of Agency

  4. Clinical Aspects Associated with Disruption of the Sense of Agency

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 123-123
    2. Matthis Synofzik, Martin Voss
      Pages 145-155
    3. Michela Balconi, Adriana Bortolotti
      Pages 173-189
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 191-192

About this book


The complex issues of agency and self-agency have been examined by researchers in the related fields of psychology and neuropsychology. This volume approaches the cognitive and neuropsychological correlates as two sides of the same coin, with the aim of establishing a correspondence between the hardware (cerebral processes) and software (cognitive processes) of the representation of agency. All living systems self-regulate, and within any living system - whether it is as small as a cell or a complete plant or animal - there must be communication between its many parts. In addition, a prerequisite for organisms to act is an ability to distinguish between self and other. In humans, this ability may be either learned or comprise an inherent part of the process of action. The predominant account explaining the sense of agency of our own actions is the “central monitoring theory” or “comparator model” which postulates the monitoring of central and peripheral signals arising as a consequence of the execution of an action. Alternative perspectives include simulation theory. These models, as well as the contribution of body representation for agency, are explored here, taking into account the significance of proprioceptive feedback for self-agent attribution. Finally, the neural correlates of action and agent representation are discussed in the context of recent empirical results.


Action anatomy autism brain central monitoring theory cognition communication comparatore model consciouness disruption of sense of agency interagency neuropsychology perception psychology schizophrenia

Editors and affiliations

  • Michela Balconi 
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyCatholic University of MilanMilanItaly

Bibliographic information