A matter of matching: How goals and primes affect self-agency experiences

A. van der Weiden, K.I. Ruys, H. Aarts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


The sense of self-agency is a pervasive experience that people infer from their actions and the outcomes they produce. Recent research suggests that self-agency inferences arise from an explicit goal-directed process as well as an implicit outcome-priming process. Three experiments examined potential differences between these 2 processes. Participants had the goal to produce an outcome or were primed with the outcome. Next, they performed an action in an agency-ambiguous situation, followed by an outcome that matched or mismatched the goal or prime, and indicated experienced self-agency over the action-outcome. Results showed that goals reduce self-agency over mismatching outcomes. However, outcome-primes did not affect self-agency over mismatching outcomes but even enhanced self-agency over mismatching proximate outcomes. Goals and outcome-primes equally enhanced self-agency for matches. Our findings provide novel evidence that self-agency experiences result from 2 distinct inferential routes and that goals and primes differentially affect the perception of our own behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)954-966
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: General
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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