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Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience

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Action & Body

Action and Body group investigates cognitive aspects of two sensorimotor processes that underlie all human behaviour. The group is led by Prof Patrick Haggard.

Patrick Haggard

Group Leader

 

p.haggard@ucl.ac.uk

+44 20 7679 1153

Patrick Haggard

Action & Body Research

Our research investigates cognitive aspects of two sensorimotor processes that underlie all human behaviour. These are the control of voluntary action and the experience we have of our own body. Research on voluntary action focusses on understanding the relation between the brain activity in the frontal and parietal lobes that precedes movements, and the conscious experience of controlling our own movements. A key question is whether conscious intentions are an immediate consequence of preparation for action in the frontal lobes, or a retrospective mental justification to explain actions that we have just made. 

Studies of body perception focus on the body as a multimodal object: we perceive our bodies in two distinct ways. Vision gives us information about our body as a volumetric object in external space, while proprioception and touch give us information "from the inside". Our research focusses on how these sources of information are combined to give a coherent bodily self. We use a range of experimental methods including psychophysics, TMS, ERP and brain imaging to investigate these questions.

Group Members

Brianna Beck

Brianna Beck
brianna.beck@ucl.ac.uk

My research concerns the contributions of multisensory input to the sense of embodiment and representations of the body in the brain. In particular, I am interested in the interactions between vision, touch, and pain

 

Frederike Beyer

Frederike Beyer
f.beyer@ucl.ac.uk

I am interested in how social context influences our Sense of Agency, and how this in turn affects our perception of responsibility and self-efficacy. I use EEG and fMRI to investigate how social information processing and action-outcome processing interact on a neural level.

Davide Bono

Davide Bone
davide.bono.16@ucl.ac.uk

I am interested in the process of oral somatosensation. I use various psychophysical and neuroimaging techniques to investigate how a somatosensory input received in the oral cavity is perceived and processed at the cortical level.

Sofia Bonicalzi

Sofia Boniciazi
s.bonicalzi@ucl.ac.uk

I'm interested in the sense of agency, voluntary action and responsibility. I currently focus on the contribution that neuroscience may offer to the understanding of legal issues.

Elisa Brann

Elisa Brann
elisa.brann.12@ucl.ac.uk

I am a Research Assistant working within the Action and Body group. My research focuses on the sense of agency, how we experience control over our actions. I am specifically interested in how agency is manipulated in situations where our actions have multiple outcomes.

Antonio Cataldo

Antonio Cataldo
antonio.cataldo2@unibo.it

I’m interested in how multiple somatosensory inputs are merged together in the brain in order to give us the perception of an extended and coherent “somatosensory whole”. In particular, I use a variety of behavioural and psychophysical techniques to study the integration of multiple stimuli within and across tactile and thermal systems.
 

Stephanie Cook

Stephanie Cook
stephanie.cook@ucl.ac.uk

My primary research interests surround the neuroscience of sensory perception and decision making. I recently completed my PhD at University of Liverpool, studying the effects of odours on perception. I now work as a Research Assistant in the Action and Body group studying the representation of pain and the encoding of pain intensity in the brain.

Harriet Dempsey-Jones

Harriet Dempsey-Jones
h.dempsey-jones@ucl.ac.uk

My research looks at how we can enhance our sense of touch through repeated exposure and training, known in the field as ‘tactile perceptual learning’. I am interested in how we can use tactile learning patterns as a tool to reveal insights about the brain.

Steven di Costa

Steven di Costa
steven.dicosta.13@ucl.ac.uk

I am interested in the neural basis of voluntary actions and how these differ from reflexes and semi-automatic movements. I have worked with healthy populations and patients with Parkinson's disease. 

Francesca Fardo

Francesca Fardo
francesca.fardo@gmail.com

I'm interested in the neural mechanisms mediating the perception of temperature and pain in humans. My research combines experimental approaches with a variety of neuroimaging techniques such as structural and functional MRI, MEG and EEG.

Nima Khalighinejad

Nima
nima.khalighinejad.12@ucl.ac.uk

Research interests: Sense of agency including the role of frontal and parietal circuits in linking intentional actions with subsequent outcomes, the relation between action selection and sense of agency, the acquisition of sense of agency, and the relation between instrumental agency at the individual level and the social aspects of agency. I am also interested in voluntary action, including the neural antecedents of self-initiated actions and the mechanisms that produce the unique experience of human voluntary action. I use behavioural tasks, EEG, fMRI, TMS, tDCS and tACS.

Eugenia Kulakova

Eugenia Kulakova
e.kulakova@ucl.ac.uk

I am interested in how counterfactual thinking (e.g. "I could have done otherwise") influences the sense of agency and responsibility.

Anne Loffler

Anne Loffler
anne.loffler.15@ucl.ac.uk

I am interested in 'Changes of Mind' in voluntary action. Using behavioural tasks and EEG, I aim to shed more light on questions such as: When and why do people change their mind? What are the neurocognitive underpinnings of dynamic updates in action selection? And how is the subjective experience of control (i.e., Sense of Agency) modulated when people deviate from what they initially intended to do?

Elisabeth Pares

Elisabeth Pares
elisabeth.pujolras.15@ucl.ac.uk

My research is focused on the conscious experience of intention in voluntary action. I am interested in knowing at what stage motor preparation becomes consciously accessible to the agent and in the role that the corresponding experience of intention plays in action control. I am currently addressing these questions using behavioural tasks and EEG.

Eoin Travers

Eoin Travers
e.travers@ucl.ac.uk

I'm interested in decision-making and reasoning, and in particular how they unfold over time. At the Haggard Lab, I use EEG and computational modelling to explore the neural processes that underlie voluntary or "free" actions. I'm also interested in the conscious and metacognitive awareness, and in conflict in high-level cognition.

Maria Valentina Peña Vivas

Maria Valentina Vivas
maria.vivas.12@ucl.ac.uk

I'm I'm interested in human decision-making, with a particular focus on metacognition. My work lies at the intersection of the action and body sides of the group, looking both at metacognition within different sensory modalities as well as the effects of agency and action on subjective confidence. 

Wen Wen

Wen Wen
wen@robot.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp

I am interested in how high-level cognitive factors, such as performance, intention, and goal, influence the sense of agency. I am also interested in how to measure the arising of sense of agency by EEG signals with neuroscience knowledge and signal processing techniques.

Independent Research Fellows 

Lucie Charles

Lucie Charles
lucie.charles.ens@googlemail.com

I am currently a postdoctoral fellow of the British Academy, studying the cognitive processes related to metacognition, action awareness and freedom of choice. I study how we monitor our own actions and how it relates to our subjective experience of control over our behaviour. In a first line of research, I work on understanding what people know about their motor actions and what makes them confident in their own movements. In a second line of research, I investigate the neural correlates of volition, exploring the cognitive processes that enable people to make free decisions and evaluate their own freedom of choice. 

Learn more about my research and my publications.