Humans and other animals live in dynamic environments. To reliably manipulate the environment and attain their goals they would benefit from a constant modification of motor-responding based on responses' current effect on the current environment. It is argued that this is exactly what is achieved by a mechanism that reinforces responses which have led to accurate sensorimotor predictions. We further show that evaluations of a response's effectiveness can occur simultaneously, driven by at least two different processes, each relying on different statistical properties of the feedback and affecting a different level of responding. Specifically, we show the continuous effect of (a) a sensorimotor process sensitive only to the conditional probability of effects given that the agent acted on the environment (i.e., action-effects) and of (b) a more abstract judgement or inference that is also sensitive to the conditional probabilities of occurrence of feedback given no action by the agent (i.e., inaction-effects). The latter process seems to guide action selection (e.g., should I act?) while the former the manner of the action's execution. This study is the first to show that different evaluation processes of a response’s effectiveness influence different levels of responding.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.
- Action effectiveness
- Sense of agency
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Neuroscience