Institut Jean Nicod

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Conférences et Prix Jean-Nicod 2016


Professeur Patrick HAGGARD  (University College London)

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Patrick Haggard est Professeur en neurosciences cognitives à l’Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience à University College London. Après un doctorat sur la coordination visuomotrice à Cambridge en 1991 et un post-doctorat sur la volonté à Oxford, il fut l’un des pionniers de la recherche sur le sens de l’agentivité proposant un cadre théorique qui s’appuie sur le principe du « liage intentionnel ». Il a ainsi montré que l'intervalle temporel entre une action et ses conséquences est perçu comme plus court lorsque l'action est intentionnelle et qu'on en est l'auteur. Patrick Haggard fut aussi parmi les premiers à étudier scientifiquement la représentation du corps propre, s’intéressant aussi bien aux illusions corporelles qu’aux mécanismes multisensoriels et à la douleur. Ses travaux les plus récents concernent le libre arbitre et le sens de la responsabilité. Patrick Haggard est membre de la British Academy.






Programme - Brochure (Version PDF)

Mardi 17 mai 2016 de 14h30 à 16h30. École normale supérieure, 29, rue d'Ulm 75005 Paris. Salle Jean Jaurès

Human volition - VIDEO

Voluntary action is central to our views of human nature, but eludes scientific investigation. Philosophers sometimes define voluntary actions as actions which are reasons-responsive, or are “up to us”.  In contrast, neuroscientists often consider voluntary actions as involving a specific set of brain pathways that lead to movement. In particular, brain science distinguishes between movements that are externally-triggered, such as reflex responses, and those that are internally-generated.This lecture considers what this capacity for internally-generated movement might mean, what basis it might have in the human brain, and how it relates to our conscious experience of our own actions.

Remise du Prix Jean-Nicod après la conférence

Vendredi 20 mai 2016 de 14h30 à 16h30. École normale supérieure, 29, rue d'Ulm 75005 Paris. Salle Jean Jaurès.

The sense of agency - VIDEO

Our actions often aim at producing some specific goal event or outcome. The mental capacity to link actions to outcomes is a distinctive feature of human cognition, and is accompanied by a distinctive experience, which I call “sense of agency”. Measuring the sense of agency is difficult. The brain readily tags the outcomes of our own actions – as our ability to control devices and machines clearly shows. However, people generally overestimate the influence of their actions, leading to some interesting illusions of agency. I will describe one method of measuring sense of agency, based on a Humean notion of the human mind. In the “intentional binding” effect, people perceive their voluntary actions and the outcomes of those actions, as linked together in time, so that the interval between them is subjectively compressed.

Mardi 24 mai 2016 de 14h30 à 16h30. École normale supérieure, 29, rue d'Ulm 75005 Paris. Salle Jean Jaurès.

Narrative confabulation, or prospective control - VIDEO

This lecture investigates the mechanisms and impacts of human sense of agency. The methods of mental chronometry, and in particular the intentional binding measure, have made it possible to study the causes and consequences of sense of agency in the controlled conditions of the experimental laboratory. Is the sense of agency a purely retrospective narrative, driven by the mind’s attempts to make sense of actions? Or is it a prospective perception of impending goal-directed voluntary action. Current evidence suggests our experience of agency reflects a balance of both prospective and retrospective processes. Neuroscientific evidence from brain measurements and brain stimulation suggest a model in which the frontal lobes prepare an experience of agency as part of action preparation, while the parietal lobes monitor the outcomes of voluntary actions.

Vendredi 27 mai 2016 de 14h30 à 16h30. École normale supérieure, 45, rue d'Ulm 75005 Paris. Salle Dussane.

Responsibility for action - VIDEO

Many systems of law involve a ‘voluntary act condition’ for criminal responsibility. More generally, society holds individuals responsible for their voluntary actions, because it views each individual as an agent governed by conscious free will, who ‘could have done otherwise’. How can we establish whether an action is voluntary or involuntary? I will consider neuropsychological evidence from two specific examples: actions made under conditions of strong emotion, and actions made under coercion. In both cases, the brain mechanisms that generate the subjective experience of controlling our own actions turn out to have major implications for personal responsibility, and thus for the organisation of our societies.


Kennett S., Taylor-Clarke M., & Haggard P. (2001). Noninformative vision improves the spatial resolution of touch in humans. Current Biology, 11, 1188-1191.

Haggard P., Clark S. & Kalogeras J. (2002). Voluntary action and Conscious Awareness. Nature Neuroscience, 5, 382-385.

De Vignemont F., Ehrsson H. & Haggard P. (2005).Bodily illusions modulate tactile perception. Current Biology, 15, 1286-1290.

Calvo-Merino B., Glaser D.E., Grezes J., Passingham R.E. & Haggard P. (2005). Action observation and acquired motor skills: an fMRI study with expert dancers. Cerebral Cortex, 15, 1243-1249.

Yoshie M. & Haggard P. (2013). Negative emotional outcomes attenuate  sense of agency over voluntary actions. Current Biology, 23, 2028-32.

Chambon V., Wenke D., Fleming D., Prinz W. & Haggard P. (2013). An online neural substrate for sense of agency. Cerebral Cortex, 23, 1031-1037.

Mancini, F., Steinitz, H., Steckelmacher, J., Iannetti, G., Haggard, G. (2015). Poor judgment of distance between nociceptive stimuli. Cognition 143, 41-47.

Ganos C., Asmuss L., Bongert J., Brandt V., Münchau A., & Haggard P. (2015). Volitional action as perceptual detection: Predictors of conscious intention in adolescents with tic disorders. Cortex, 64, 47-54.

Khalighinejad, N., & Haggard P. (2015). Modulating human sense of agency with non-invasive brain stimulation. Cortex, 69, 93-103.

Marotta A., Ferre E.R., & Haggard P. (2015). Transforming the thermal grill effect by crossing the fingers. Current Biology, 25, 1-5.



Centre national de la recherche scientifique,
Fondation Meyer pour le développement culturel et artistique,
en partenariat avec :
École normale supérieure,
École des hautes études en sciences Sociales.