Mutual coordination strengthens the sense of joint agency in cooperative joint action

Nicole K. Bolt, Evan M. Poncelet, Benjamin G. Schultz, Janeen D. Loehr*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

34 Citations (Web of Science)


Philosophers have proposed that when people coordinate their actions with others they may experience a sense of joint agency, or shared control over actions and their effects. However, little empirical work has investigated the sense of joint agency. In the current study, pairs coordinated their actions to produce tone sequences and then rated their sense of joint agency on a scale ranging from shared to independent control. People felt more shared than independent control overall, confirming that people experience joint agency during joint action. Furthermore, people felt stronger joint agency when they (a) produced sequences that required mutual coordination compared to sequences in which only one partner had to coordinate with the other, (b) held the role of follower compared to leader, and (c) were better coordinated with their partner. Thus, the strength of joint agency is influenced by the degree to which people mutually coordinate with each other's actions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-187
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016


  • Agency
  • Joint action
  • Joint agency
  • Shared control
  • Interpersonal coordination

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