ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2022, Vol. 54 ›› Issue (7): 789-798.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2022.00789

• 研究报告 • 上一篇    下一篇


布宇博, 李力红, 吕香玲, 国宏远, 安灿翎, 王凌云()   

  1. 东北师范大学心理学院, 长春 130024
  • 收稿日期:2021-05-06 发布日期:2022-05-16 出版日期:2022-07-25
  • 通讯作者: 王凌云
  • 基金资助:

Influence of voluntary action, nature of outcomes on sense of agency under different predictability

BU Yubo, LI Lihong, LV Xiangling, GUO Hongyuan, AN Canling, WANG Lingyun()   

  1. College of psychology, Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130024, China
  • Received:2021-05-06 Online:2022-05-16 Published:2022-07-25
  • Contact: WANG Lingyun


采用时间估计法考察动作自主性水平、动作结果性质(利己、利他、中性)以及结果是否可预测对施动感的影响。结果发现, 高自主性的自由选择条件比低自主性的服从条件增强了个体的施动感, 且不受动作结果性质与结果是否可预测的影响; 在低自主性的服从条件下, 当结果可预测时利己结果比利他结果的施动感更强, 而在结果不可预测时利己和利他结果的施动感没有区别, 但均弱于中性结果。这揭示出动作的主观意愿在施动感产生过程中的重要作用, 同时在自主性较低的服从条件下, 对利己或利他道德属性的动作结果能否被预测, 对个体的施动感产生了不同的影响。研究结果说明具有利己或利他道德属性的动作对施动感会产生自上而下的调节作用, 且这种调节作用在低自主条件下较为突显。

关键词: 施动感, 动作自主性, 结果性质, 预测性, 时间压缩效应


Sense of agency (SoA) is the feeling of having control over an external event through one’s own actions. SoA is a result of the connection between one's intentions, actions and outcomes. In addition, predictability of outcomes can also have an effect on SoA. Previous studies have found that threats can reduce agency, but these results are mostly limited to aggressive behavior. A pro-social outcome is often attributable to one's own action. However, it is unclear whether a person can change their perception of their actions and results. In this study, we used the Temporal Estimates method to examine the effects of voluntary action and the nature of outcomes on the sense of agency under predictable and unpredictable conditions.

We used the temporal binding paradigm in order to measure the interval time in a card game task. The intensity of the sense of agency was linked with the estimated interval time. Self-interested and altruistic monetary rewards or neutral outcomes were presented to the participants. In both experiments, a neutral tone emerged by pressing buttons on their own initiative (voluntary action) or following instructions (involuntary action), respectively, under predictable conditions (Experiment 1) and unpredictable conditions (Experiment 2). Time interval from the action to the outcome was set to 200 ms, 500 ms, and 800 ms. Each interval was chosen randomly. In the experiments, participants were asked to estimate the time interval between the keys and the sound or picture, which was expressed as a number between 100 and 1000 ms. As the time interval increased, the sense of agency lessened.

In Experiment 1, there was a significant main effect of actions. The time estimate for the voluntary action (self-initiative) was significantly shorter than the time estimate for the involuntary actions (following instruction). The main effect of outcome was not significant. The estimates for self-interest, altruism, and neutral outcomes were similar. However, there was a significant interaction between involuntary action and outcome. It was estimated that altruistic and neutral outcomes would take longer than self-interest outcomes, meaning self-interest outcomes would have a stronger SoA. In Experiment 2, there was a main effect of actions. The SoA was weaker in the involuntary action. The main effect of the outcome was significant. The time interval estimation of self-interest and altruistic outcomes was longer than that of neutral outcomes. There was less SoA in self-interest and altruistic outcomes, and there was no significant difference between the two outcomes. No significant interaction was found.

The results of our study show that voluntary action plays a significant role in the process of SoA. Individual agency is primarily determined by voluntary action and the nature of outcomes. Involuntary action can reduce individual agency. Predictability can change the individual’s perception of the outcomes, especially when the self-interest outcome is more predictable than the altruistic outcome. The agency of self-interest and altruistic outcomes had no difference under unpredictable conditions and was weaker than the neutral outcome. The results show that outcome (self-interest and altruism) has a top-down effect on SoA and the effect is more prominent in voluntary action.

Key words: sense of agency, voluntary action, nature of outcomes, predictability, temporal binding effect