Belief of agency changes dynamics in sensorimotor networks

Journal article

Publication Details

Author(s): Buchholz VN, David N, Sengelmann M, Engel AK
Journal: Scientific Reports
Publication year: 2019
Volume: 9
ISSN: 2045-2322


Controlling an event through one's own action usually induces a sense of agency, a feeling that arises when an expected outcome matches the intention. The neural correlates of this feeling remain controversial however, as experimental manipulation of the action-outcome chain often introduces mismatch or prediction errors that strongly correlate with the sense of agency. Here, we took a different approach and manipulated the causal belief (self-attribution vs. computer-attribution) by external cues during matched visuo-motor tapping conditions. With magneto-encephalography, we studied the sense of agency from a network perspective, investigating in source space the modulation of local population activity and changes in functional connectivity with motor cortex. Our results show that during the belief of agency primary motor cortex (M1) shows stronger functional connectivity (mediated by the beta band) to inferior parietal lobe and right middle temporal gyrus (MTG). Furthermore, the local feed-forward activity (gamma band power) in extrastriate body area and MTG disappears with that belief. After changes in action context, left M1 shows stronger connectivity in the alpha band with right premotor cortex and left insular-temporal cortex a network that might support active inference in social action context. Finally, a better tapping performance in this rhythmic task was related to alpha power modulations in the bilateral cerebellum and bilateral fusiform body-area, with power suppression during a more precise performance. These findings highlight the role of multiple networks supporting the sense of agency by changing their relative contribution for different causal beliefs.

Additional Organisation
Psychiatrische und Psychotherapeutische Klinik

External institutions with authors

Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE)

How to cite

Buchholz, V.N., David, N., Sengelmann, M., & Engel, A.K. (2019). Belief of agency changes dynamics in sensorimotor networks. Scientific Reports, 9.

Buchholz, Verena N., et al. "Belief of agency changes dynamics in sensorimotor networks." Scientific Reports 9 (2019).


Last updated on 2019-28-02 at 06:14