Ketamine administration in healthy volunteers reproduces aberrant agency experiences associated with schizophrenia

James W. Moore*, Danielle C. Turner, Philip R. Corlett, Fernando S. Arana, Hannah L. Morgan, Antony R. Absalom, Ram Adapa, Sanne De Wit, Jessica C. Everitt, Jenny M. Gardner, Jennifer S. Pigott, Patrick Haggard, Paul C. Fletcher

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    29 Citations (Scopus)


    Introduction. Aberrant experience of agency is characteristic of schizophrenia. An understanding of the neurobiological basis of such experience is therefore of considerable importance for developing successful models of the disease. We aimed to characterise the effects of ketamine, a drug model for psychosis, on sense of agency (SoA). SoA is associated with a subjective compression of the temporal interval between an action and its effects: This is known as intentional binding. This action-effect binding provides an indirect measure of SoA. Previous research has found that the magnitude of binding is exaggerated in patients with schizophrenia. We therefore investigated whether ketamine administration to otherwise healthy adults induced a similar pattern of binding. Methods. 14 right-handed healthy participants (8 female; mean age 22.4 years) were given low-dose ketamine (100 ng/mL plasma) and completed the binding task. They also underwent structured clinical interviews. Results. Ketamine mimicked the performance of schizophrenia patients on the intentional binding task, significantly increasing binding relative to placebo. The size of this effect also correlated with aberrant bodily experiences engendered by the drug. Conclusions. These data suggest that ketamine may be able to mimic certain aberrant agency experiences that characterise schizophrenia. The link to individual changes in bodily experience suggests that the fundamental change produced by the drug has wider consequences in terms of individuals' experiences of their bodies and movements.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)364-381
    Number of pages18
    JournalCognitive Neuropsychiatry
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


    • Action-outcome binding
    • Ketamine
    • Schizophrenia
    • Sense of agency
    • Volition
    • Voluntary action

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