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The Measure of MadnessPhilosophy of Mind, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Delusional Thought$
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Philip Gerrans

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027557

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027557.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

The Sense of Agency, Lost and Found: Experience and Thought in Schizophrenic Delusion

The Sense of Agency, Lost and Found: Experience and Thought in Schizophrenic Delusion

(p.163) 8 The Sense of Agency, Lost and Found: Experience and Thought in Schizophrenic Delusion
The Measure of Madness

Philip Gerrans

The MIT Press

This chapter focuses on two typical symptoms of schizophrenic delusions: alien control and thought insertion. The phenomenology in question is loss of a “sense of agency” for voluntary movements, and the neural correlate of this is abnormal patterns of activity in the parietal cortex. The chapter shows that a cognitive theory of visuomotor control embedded in the overall architecture of cognitive control is required to explain why high levels of activity in these regions produce loss of a sense of agency. It also explains how delusions of control are correlated with abnormally high levels of activation in the right inferior parietal cortex using a predictive coding model of motor control. The ultimate aim is to transform that model to a neurocognitive theory by considering evidence that the neural circuitry implicated in delusions of control actually implements a version of that model. Finally, the chapter explores passivity experience in schizophrenia and the default attribution of externality, along with the role of mirror neurons in the passive experience of action.

Keywords:   schizophrenia, delusion, alien control, thought insertion, agency, parietal cortex, cognitive control, neurocognitive theory, externality, mirror neurons

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