Institut Jean Nicod

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Soutenance de thèse : Andrea Desantis

A. Desantis
Monday 19th of November at 2 pm in room B120 (Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Campus Jussieu) — 4, place Jussieu, Paris .
I will present the work I have conducted under the supervision of Roberto Casati under the experimental supervision of Florian Waszak on Intentional Binding and Sensory Attenuation.


My PhD aimed at contributing to the investigation of the processes underlying sensory attenuation and intentional binding. Sensory processing of action-effects has been reported to differ from sensory processing of externally triggered stimuli, both with respect to the perceived timing of their occurrence (intentional binding) as well as their intensity (sensory attenuation). These perceptual phenomena, have been regarded as important sensory cues contributing to the emergence of our belief of authorship, i.e., the belief of being the cause of a sensory change in the environment. In a series of studies I investigated the reversal of this assumption, namely whether prior belief of authorship drives intentional binding and sensory attenuation. We observed that both binding and attenuation are modulated by prior belief of authorship, suggesting that the relationship between these two perceptual phenomena and our belief of authorship is reciprocal.

Note also that the link between sensory attenuation/intentional binding and beliefs of authorship is partly due to the fact that the binding of action to their effects and the attenuation of self-generated sensory event have often been attributed to motor predictive processes. In another series of experiments we have tried to directly test this assumption using conditions that differed only in terms of motor prediction. Our analysis suggest that sensory attenuation and intentional binding depend on different predictive processes, with sensory attenuation depending on effect-specific and intentional binding on more general predictive processes.

These studies are of importance since they provide further evidence of how predictions and expectations influence our perceptual experience and propose some avenues for future research that might be useful to clarify the way intentional binding, sensory attenuation, motor prediction, causality and authorship are related to each other.