The case for the comparator model as an explanation of the sense of agency and its breakdowns

Glenn Carruthers*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/opinionpeer-review

    54 Citations (Scopus)


    I compare Frith and colleagues' influential comparator account of how the sense of agency is elicited to the multifactorial weighting model advocated by Synofzik and colleagues. I defend the comparator model from the common objection that the actual sensory consequences of action are not needed to elicit the sense of agency. I examine the comparator model's ability to explain the performance of healthy subjects and those suffering from delusions of alien control on various self-attribution tasks. It transpires that the comparator model needs case-by-case adjustment to deal with problematic data. In response to this, the multifactorial weighting model of Synofzik and colleagues is introduced. Although this model is incomplete, it is more naturally constrained by the cases that are problematic for the comparator model. However, this model may be untestable. I conclude that currently the comparator model approach has stronger support than the multifactorial weighting model approach.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)30-45
    Number of pages16
    JournalConsciousness and cognition
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


    • Comparator model
    • Delusions of alien control
    • Frith
    • Multifactorial weighting model
    • Self consciousness
    • Sense of agency
    • Synofzik


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