The effect of uncertainty on prediction error in the action perception loop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Among all their sensations, agents need to distinguish between those caused by themselves and those caused by external causes. The ability to infer agency is particularly challenging under conditions of uncertainty. Within the predictive processing framework, this should happen through active control of prediction error that closes the action-perception loop. Here we use a novel, temporally-sensitive, behavioural proxy for prediction error to show that it is minimised most quickly when volatility is high and when participants report agency, regardless of the accuracy of the judgement. We demonstrate broad effects of uncertainty on accuracy of agency judgements, movement, policy selection, and hypothesis switching. Measuring autism traits, we find differences in policy selection, sensitivity to uncertainty and hypothesis switching despite no difference in overall accuracy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104598
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Action-perception loop
  • Agency
  • Autism traits
  • Prediction error
  • Uncertainty

Cite this