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The previous section gives an overview of the agency`s research meaning and theory. From this overview, however, it wouldn`t be entirely clear why all of this is important, especially from an impact perspective. I would like to discuss this in the next section. I will explore the potential impact of research on agency meaning in the context of health and well-being, human-computer interaction, and broader issues of agency and responsibility. A number of studies support Wegner`s theory of apparent mental causality. For example, preparing for a future action has been shown to foster an illusory sense of action for that action (Wegner and Wheatley, 1999; Wegner et al., 2004). Manipulating high-level contextual information about an action (in the form of causal beliefs) has also been shown to alter the sense of free will measured by intentional attachment (Desantis et al., 2011). The problem with an engine system that only works this way is that it reacts slowly to errors. For this reason, the organism is vulnerable.

The solution, it seems, is to have an additional predictive component in the engine system, and this is considered particularly relevant for the sense of ability to act. This predictive component uses a copy of the output engine control (a so-called « Efference » copy) to predict the future state of the system. This includes predictions about changes in the motor system as well as the sensory consequences resulting from these changes. Based on these predictions, a representation of the predicted state of the system can be formed, and this representation can be compared to both the desired state of the system and the actual state of the system. The first comparison is important for engine control, as it allows the body to quickly adjust the engine controls before performing wrong actions. The latter comparison is considered important for the sense of ability to act. According to the comparative model, the result of the comparison between the predicted and actual states determines whether or not we feel a sense of ability to act. If there is consensus, then we feel a sense of agency; If there is a discrepancy, we do not.

The basic rule regarding the limits of personal liability is, « What you create, you own. » If you work hard, you have the fruits of your labor. When you speak, you have the words you say. If you commit a crime, you are responsible for that crime. When you arouse thoughts and feelings, you possess those thoughts and feelings. So a healthy sense of agency is similar to responsibility. « I am responsible for my thoughts, feelings and actions. I have the freedom to choose my thoughts, feelings, and actions. Of course, the lack of knowledge and tools will limit the amount of influence a person can exert on their thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Through philosophical therapy, one acquires the knowledge and tools one needs to increase the influence one has on one`s own thoughts and feelings and thus increase one`s ability to act globally. You can`t handle a panic attack if you don`t understand your feelings, and you can`t have a harmonious relationship with someone if you don`t understand how relationships work. You can usually group these paradigms into implicit or explicit actions. Implicit measures evaluate a correlate of voluntary action and conclude something about the agent`s experience. In these paradigms, no one is directly questioned about their agent experience. Probably the most common implicit measure of ability to act is intentional attachment (for a review, see Moore and Obhi, 2012). This was developed by Haggard et al. (2002) develops and is based on the perception of time. Haggard et al.

(2002) found that when we take voluntary action, the perceived moments of action and their effects on each other are altered. This change in the perception of time is seen as an implicit marker of the feeling of the ability to act. Other implicit measures of sense of ability to act include sensory attenuation paradigms. The perceived intensity of the sensory consequences of voluntary action has been shown to be lower than that of passive movements (Blakemore et al., 1998, 1999). This may explain why we are unable to tickle ourselves (Blakemore et al., 1998). In these sensory attenuation paradigms, researchers use changes in the perceived intensity of sensory feedback to infer something about the participant`s sense of ability to act. The attribution of responsibility, which I mentioned at the end of the previous section, is one of the most important social functions of action consciousness (Frith, 2014). People seem to place a high value on responsibility – most, if not all, societies demand that their members be held accountable for what they do…