Vernet Lab Action, Thought and Perception

Plasticity of the Sense of Agency

How do we entertain the strong feeling that we are the owners of our own actions? The sense of agency (SoA) is the feeling that we are at the origin of our own volitional actions. It is central to the fluency of action, responsibility and wellbeing in humans. It can be degraded in the modern world when healthy humans interact with more and more sophisticated technologies or in neuropsychiatric patients suffering from depression or schizophrenia. Uncovering the plasticity of the SoA is thus crucial for helping humans to regain the ownership of their actions, optimize their choices and improve their mental health. In our lab, we are currently 1) creating a brain computer interface (BCI) that disturbs the SoA, 2) characterizing how the disturbed SoA can recover through spontaneous mechanisms of plasticity and 3) designing laboratory and everyday life interventions that accelerate the plasticity of the SoA. This will help us to understand how the SoA is instantiated, maintained, and possibly dynamically modified.