Difficulties for extending Wegner and colleagues’ model of the sense of agency to deficits in delusions of alien control

Avant: Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies 5 (3):126-141 (2014)
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Wegner and colleagues have offered an explanation of the sense of agency over one’s bodily actions. If the orthodox view is correct and there is a sense of agency deficit associated with delusions of alien control, then Wegner and colleagues’ model ought to extend to an explanation of this deficit. Data from intentional binding studies opens up the possibility that an abnormality in representing the timing of mental events leads to a violation of the principle of priority in those suffering from delusions of alien control. However, the model ultimately fails as it is unable to accommodate action monitoring deficits associated with delusions of alien control, in particular the theory of mind deficiencies predicted by such accounts have not materialised. There are theory of mind problems associated with schizophrenia but they are not associated with delusions of alien control. Such accounts thereby fail to adequately explain delusions of alien control.

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Glenn Carruthers
Macquarie University (PhD)


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