Time, action and psychosis: using subjective time to investigate the effects of ketamine on sense of agency


Sense of agency refers to the experience of initiating and controlling actions in order to influence events in the outside world. A disturbed sense of agency is found in certain psychiatric and neurological disorders, most notably schizophrenia. Sense of agency is associated with a subjective compression of time: actions and their outcomes are perceived as bound together in time. This is known as ‘intentional binding’ and, in healthy adults, depends partly on advance prediction of action outcomes. Notably, this predictive contribution is disrupted in patients with schizophrenia. In the present study we aimed to characterise the psychotomimetic effect of ketamine, a drug model for psychosis, on the predictive contribution to intentional binding. It was shown that ketamine produced a disruption that closely resembled previous data from patients in the early, prodromal, stage of schizophrenic illness. These results are discussed in terms of established models of delusion formation in schizophrenia. The link between time and agency, more generally, is also considered

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    This paper was published in Goldsmiths Research Online.

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