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The sense of agency in autism spectrum disorders: a dissociation between prospective and retrospective mechanisms?

Zalla T, Sperduti M - Front Psychol (2015)

Bottom Line: So far, the few studies investigating SoA in ASD have reported contrasting results, with some showing spared, others impaired SoA.In the light of a multi-componential model of SoA, we propose the view that a specific impairment at the level of prospective mechanisms acting on internal agency signals (i.e., the intention, action selection, or command produced to achieve the goal) may be responsible for the reduced SoA in ASD, along with spared retrospective mechanisms.Future research should shed light on the impact of abnormal SoA on social and self-related dysfunctions in ASD.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Cognitive Studies, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Institut Jean Nicod, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris Sciences et Lettres Research University , Paris, France.

ABSTRACT
While a large number of studies have reported impairments in social and interpersonal abilities in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), relatively few studies have focused on self-related knowledge in this population. One of the processes implicated in the physical dimension of the Self is the sense of agency (SoA), i.e., the experience of initiating and controlling one's own actions and producing desired changes in the world via these actions. So far, the few studies investigating SoA in ASD have reported contrasting results, with some showing spared, others impaired SoA. Here, we review the existing literature and suggest that the distinction between prospective and retrospective mechanisms of the SoA might help reconcile the existing findings. In the light of a multi-componential model of SoA, we propose the view that a specific impairment at the level of prospective mechanisms acting on internal agency signals (i.e., the intention, action selection, or command produced to achieve the goal) may be responsible for the reduced SoA in ASD, along with spared retrospective mechanisms. Future research should shed light on the impact of abnormal SoA on social and self-related dysfunctions in ASD.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Schematic representation of mechanisms involved in SoA. Impairment of SoA could emerge at the level of (1) action selection; (2) predictive processes implemented by the forward model; (3) comparator mechanisms, and (4) inferential processes based on actual motor performances (e.g., judgment of performance) or contextual cues. Red circle (1) represents likely impaired mechanisms leading to altered SoA in ASD; gray circle (2) represents processes for which there is mixed evidence, green circles (3, 4) represent likely spared processes in ASD.
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Figure 1: Schematic representation of mechanisms involved in SoA. Impairment of SoA could emerge at the level of (1) action selection; (2) predictive processes implemented by the forward model; (3) comparator mechanisms, and (4) inferential processes based on actual motor performances (e.g., judgment of performance) or contextual cues. Red circle (1) represents likely impaired mechanisms leading to altered SoA in ASD; gray circle (2) represents processes for which there is mixed evidence, green circles (3, 4) represent likely spared processes in ASD.

Mentions: Taken together, these findings support the view that multiple prospective and retrospective cues contribute to the creation of a reliable SoA, with little explicit knowledge available to the agent concerning how this integration process is computed by the brain. Importantly, the absence of or the limited sensitivity to early prospective agency cues associated with voluntary action (i.e., fluency of action selection, or command produced to achieve the goal) could determine an abnormal SoA and an impairment in the self-attribution of intentions. While in normal conditions, both external and internal sources of information are used to determine the SoA, in individuals with ASD the influence of retrospective cues may increase when the reliability or accessibility of internal agency signals decreases. Even if speculative, this hypothesis can be tested by employing paradigms that allow distinguishing the specific contribution of prospective and retrospective mechanisms to the SoA. One example is the manipulation employed in the aforementioned study by Moore and Haggard (2008) which provided convincing evidence of a similar dissociation in schizophrenia. Other possibilities are offered by neuroimaging techniques (fMRI, EEG). Indeed, if prospective mechanisms were selectively impaired in ASD, we would expect to find functional abnormalities in regions underpinning action planning and SoA, such as the angular gyrus, the premotor and supplementary motor areas (Chambon et al., 2013; Moore et al., 2010; Sperduti et al., 2011), before action execution. Figure 1 schematically represents the putative mechanisms involved in SoA, and the different stages at which the impairment might occur in ASD.


The sense of agency in autism spectrum disorders: a dissociation between prospective and retrospective mechanisms?

Zalla T, Sperduti M - Front Psychol (2015)

Schematic representation of mechanisms involved in SoA. Impairment of SoA could emerge at the level of (1) action selection; (2) predictive processes implemented by the forward model; (3) comparator mechanisms, and (4) inferential processes based on actual motor performances (e.g., judgment of performance) or contextual cues. Red circle (1) represents likely impaired mechanisms leading to altered SoA in ASD; gray circle (2) represents processes for which there is mixed evidence, green circles (3, 4) represent likely spared processes in ASD.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4561824&req=5

Figure 1: Schematic representation of mechanisms involved in SoA. Impairment of SoA could emerge at the level of (1) action selection; (2) predictive processes implemented by the forward model; (3) comparator mechanisms, and (4) inferential processes based on actual motor performances (e.g., judgment of performance) or contextual cues. Red circle (1) represents likely impaired mechanisms leading to altered SoA in ASD; gray circle (2) represents processes for which there is mixed evidence, green circles (3, 4) represent likely spared processes in ASD.
Mentions: Taken together, these findings support the view that multiple prospective and retrospective cues contribute to the creation of a reliable SoA, with little explicit knowledge available to the agent concerning how this integration process is computed by the brain. Importantly, the absence of or the limited sensitivity to early prospective agency cues associated with voluntary action (i.e., fluency of action selection, or command produced to achieve the goal) could determine an abnormal SoA and an impairment in the self-attribution of intentions. While in normal conditions, both external and internal sources of information are used to determine the SoA, in individuals with ASD the influence of retrospective cues may increase when the reliability or accessibility of internal agency signals decreases. Even if speculative, this hypothesis can be tested by employing paradigms that allow distinguishing the specific contribution of prospective and retrospective mechanisms to the SoA. One example is the manipulation employed in the aforementioned study by Moore and Haggard (2008) which provided convincing evidence of a similar dissociation in schizophrenia. Other possibilities are offered by neuroimaging techniques (fMRI, EEG). Indeed, if prospective mechanisms were selectively impaired in ASD, we would expect to find functional abnormalities in regions underpinning action planning and SoA, such as the angular gyrus, the premotor and supplementary motor areas (Chambon et al., 2013; Moore et al., 2010; Sperduti et al., 2011), before action execution. Figure 1 schematically represents the putative mechanisms involved in SoA, and the different stages at which the impairment might occur in ASD.

Bottom Line: So far, the few studies investigating SoA in ASD have reported contrasting results, with some showing spared, others impaired SoA.In the light of a multi-componential model of SoA, we propose the view that a specific impairment at the level of prospective mechanisms acting on internal agency signals (i.e., the intention, action selection, or command produced to achieve the goal) may be responsible for the reduced SoA in ASD, along with spared retrospective mechanisms.Future research should shed light on the impact of abnormal SoA on social and self-related dysfunctions in ASD.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Cognitive Studies, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Institut Jean Nicod, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris Sciences et Lettres Research University , Paris, France.

ABSTRACT
While a large number of studies have reported impairments in social and interpersonal abilities in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), relatively few studies have focused on self-related knowledge in this population. One of the processes implicated in the physical dimension of the Self is the sense of agency (SoA), i.e., the experience of initiating and controlling one's own actions and producing desired changes in the world via these actions. So far, the few studies investigating SoA in ASD have reported contrasting results, with some showing spared, others impaired SoA. Here, we review the existing literature and suggest that the distinction between prospective and retrospective mechanisms of the SoA might help reconcile the existing findings. In the light of a multi-componential model of SoA, we propose the view that a specific impairment at the level of prospective mechanisms acting on internal agency signals (i.e., the intention, action selection, or command produced to achieve the goal) may be responsible for the reduced SoA in ASD, along with spared retrospective mechanisms. Future research should shed light on the impact of abnormal SoA on social and self-related dysfunctions in ASD.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus