Metacognition of Agency  

We are currently studying people's metacognitions of agency; that is, their judgments about the degree to which they are the cause of events around them. We are investigating this primarily using a game-like paradigm in which participants move a cursor to try to "catch" stimuli as they are falling down the screen. The degree to which the movement of the cursor on the screen corresponds to participants' mouse movements is manipulated in a variety of ways. We then analyze how these manipulations influence the judgments of agency that participants make at the end of each game trial.

While we began this line of research with normals, we have expanded it to include samples of children, older adults, schizophrenia patients, Asperger patients, and methamphetamine users. In addition, we recently completed a functional brain imaging study that involved having participants complete our agency paradigm in an MRI scanner.


Vuorre, M. & Metcalfe, J. (2017). Voluntary action alters the perception of visual illusions. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics.

Sidarus, N., Vuorre, M., Metcalfe, J., & Haggard, P. (2017). Investigating the prospective sense of agency: Effects of processing fluency, stimulus ambiguity, and response conflict Frontiers in Psychology.

Vuorre, M., & Metcalfe, J. (2016). The relation between the sense of agency and the experience of flow. Consciousness and Cognition, 43, 133-142.

Zalla, T., Miele, D. B., Leboyer, M., & Metcalfe, J. (2014). Metacognition of agency and theory of mind in adults with high functioning autism. Consciousness and Cognition.


Metcalfe, J., Eich, T. S., Miele, D. B. (2013). Metacognition of agency: proximal action and distal outcome. Experimental Brain Research, 229, 485-96.

Metcalfe, J. & Terrace, H.S. (2013). Agency and Joint Attention. Oxford University Press: NY.

Metcalfe, J., Van Snellenberg, J. X., DeRosse, P., Balsam, P. & Malhotra, A.K. (2012). Judgements of agency in schizophrenia: an impairment in autonoetic metacognition. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 376, 1391-1400.

Miele, D. M., Wager, T. D., Mitchell, J. P., & Metcalfe, J. (2011). Dissociating neural correlates of action monitoring and metacognition of agency. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23, 3620-3636.

Kelly, K. J., & Metcalfe, J. (2011). Metacognition of Emotional Face Recognition. Emotion.

Cosentino, S., Metcalfe, J., Steffener, J., Holmes, B., & Stern, Y. (2011). Finding the self in metacognitive evaluations: A study of metamemory and agency in non-demented elders. Neuropsychology.

Metcalfe, J., Eich, T. S., & Castel, A. (2010). Metacognition of agency across the lifespan. Cognition, 116, 267-282.

Powell, L. J., Macrae, C. N., Cloutier, J., Metcalfe, J., & Mitchell, J. P. (2010).Dissociable neural substrates for agentic versus conceptual representations of self. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 22(10), 2186-2197.

Metcalfe, J., Van Snellenberg, J. X., Malapani, C., DeRosse, P., Balsam, P., & Malhotra, A. (2009). Disturbance of metacognition of agency in patients with schizophrenia. Presented at the 9th World Congress of Biological Psychiatry, Paris, France.

Kirkpatrick, M., Metcalfe, J., Greene, M., & Hart, C. (2008). Effects of intranasal methamphetamine on metacognition of agency. Psychopharmacology, 197, 137-144.

Metcalfe, J., & Greene, M.J. (2007). Metacognition of agency. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 136, 184-199.


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