Agency and responsibility over virtual movements controlled through different paradigms of brain−computer interface

Article


Nierula, B., Spanlang, B., Martini, M., Borrell, M., Nikulin, V. V. and Sanchez-Vives, M. V. 2019. Agency and responsibility over virtual movements controlled through different paradigms of brain−computer interface. Journal of Physiology. 599 (9), pp. 2419-2434. https://doi.org/10.1113/JP278167
AuthorsNierula, B., Spanlang, B., Martini, M., Borrell, M., Nikulin, V. V. and Sanchez-Vives, M. V.
Abstract

Agency is the attribution of an action to the self and is a prerequisite for experiencing responsibility over its consequences. Here we investigated agency and responsibility by studying the control of movements of an embodied avatar, via brain computer interface (BCI) technology, in immersive virtual reality. After induction of virtual body ownership by visuomotor correlations, healthy participants performed a motor task with their virtual body. We compared the passive observation of the subject's ‘own’ virtual arm performing the task with (1) the control of the movement through activation of sensorimotor areas (motor imagery) and (2) the control of the movement through activation of visual areas (steady‐state visually evoked potentials). The latter two conditions were carried out using a brain–computer interface (BCI) and both shared the intention and the resulting action. We found that BCI‐control of movements engenders the sense of agency, which is strongest for sensorimotor areas activation. Furthermore, increased activity of sensorimotor areas, as measured using EEG, correlates with levels of agency and responsibility. We discuss the implications of these results for the neural basis of agency.

JournalJournal of Physiology
Journal citation599 (9), pp. 2419-2434
ISSN0022-3751
Year2019
PublisherWiley
Accepted author manuscript
License
File Access Level
Anyone
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1113/JP278167
Publication dates
Online24 Oct 2019
Publication process dates
Accepted16 Oct 2019
Deposited28 Oct 2019
Copyright holder© 2019 Wiley
Copyright informationThis is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Birgit Nierula, Bernhard Spanlang, Matteo Martini, Mireia Borrell, Vadim V. Nikulin, Maria V. Sanchez‐Vives. 2019. Agency and responsibility over virtual movements controlled through different paradigms of brain–computer interface, Journal of Physiology, 599 (9) pp. 2419-2434, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1113/JP278167. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
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