What is it about?

The feeling that one's own actions are controlled by external forces is a common feature of schizophrenia. We found that people with such “delusions of control” show an altered perception of the time interval between their own actions and their consequences. Healthy subjects perceive this interval as being shorter than it actually is – a phenomenon termed “intentional binding”. Intentional binding probably helps us to further the feeling of authorship for our actions. We now show, however, that this temporal binding mechanism is lacking in Schizophrenia patients with delusion of control. Our work further revealed that the weaker these patients’ intentional binding, the more they experienced their everyday actions as being externally determined.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

Our study adds to a mechanistic understanding of the diminished sense of self in schizophrenia patients suffering from delusions of control. Such formal explanations could become useful in the future to quantitatively assess these delusions in individuals and to predict the likelihood of their occurrence.


Our work suggests simple mechanisms to explain a seemingly complex psychiatric condition. It would be great if such insight could already help patients and society to better deal with this mental disease and to improve its social acceptance.

Axel Lindner
Eberhard Karls Universitat Tubingen

Although our results do not create any immediate benefit for patients, uncovering the basic principles that contribute to a diminished sense of authorship over one’s actions in affected individuals provides important clues about how one could strengthen this feeling.

Manuel Roth
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Impaired perception of temporal contiguity between action and effect is associated with disorders of agency in schizophrenia, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, May 2023, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2214327120.
You can read the full text:



The following have contributed to this page