Stimuli that have been generated by a person's own willed motor actions generally elicit a suppressed electrophysiological, as well as phenomenological, response compared with identical stimuli that have been externally generated. This well-studied phenomenon, known as sensory attenuation, has mostly been studied by comparing ERPs evoked by self-initiated and externally generated sounds. However, most studies have assumed a uniform action–effect contingency, in which a motor action leads to a resulting sensation 100% of the time. In this study, we investigated the effect of manipulating the probability of action–effect contingencies on the sensory attenuation effect. In Experiment 1, participants watched a moving, marked tickertape while EEG was recorded. In the full-contingency (FC) condition, participants chose whether to press a button by a certain mark on the tickertape. If a button press had not occurred by the mark, a sound would be played a second later 100% of the time. If the button was pressed before the mark, the sound was not played. In the no-contingency (NC) condition, participants observed the same tickertape; in contrast, however, if participants did not press the button by the mark, a sound would occur only 50% of the time (NC-inaction). Furthermore, in the NC condition, if a participant pressed the button before the mark, a sound would also play 50% of the time (NC-action). In Experiment 2, the design was identical, except that a willed action (as opposed to a willed inaction) triggered the sound in the FC condition. The results were consistent across the two experiments: Although there were no differences in N1 amplitude between conditions, the amplitude of the Tb and P2 components were smaller in the FC condition compared with the NC-inaction condition, and the amplitude of the P2 component was also smaller in the FC condition compared with the NC-action condition. The results suggest that the effect of contingency on electrophysiological indices of sensory attenuation may be indexed primarily by the Tb and P2 components, rather than the N1 component which is most commonly studied.

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