Sense of agency and prior beliefs are two cognitive processes describing, respectively, the sense of control over voluntary actions, and the processing of priors to explain sensory input. Evidence for an online component of these processes, during action execution, and an offline one, during retrospective thinking about that action, has been described. Neuroimaging studies of online agency showed activity in visuo-motor and parietal areas when the sense of agency was disrupted. The networks of offline agency and prior beliefs have received little attention.
The aim of the fMRI study is to test the neural correlates of agency and prior belief, in patients affected by functional neurological disorders and healthy controls.
We engage FND patients and healthy controls in a motor task where we artificially manipulate sense of agency and prior beliefs, under functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In the task, first participants first perform a simple game (online phase), and then judge their performance and sense of control over it (offline phase).