- Towards a Unitary Approach to Human Action Control
- Trends in Cognitive Sciences
- Volume | Issue number
- 21 | 12
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Review article
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
From its academic beginnings the theory of human action control has distinguished between endogenously driven, intentional action and exogenously driven, habitual, or automatic action. We challenge this dual-route model and argue that attempts to provide clear-cut and straightforward criteria to distinguish between intentional and automatic action have systematically failed. Specifically, we show that there is no evidence for intention-independent action, and that attempts to use the criterion of reward sensitivity and rationality to differentiate between intentional and automatic action are conceptually unsound. As a more parsimonious, and more feasible, alternative we suggest a unitary approach to action control, according to which actions are (i) represented by codes of their perceptual effects, (ii) selected by matching intention-sensitive selection criteria, and (ii) moderated by metacontrol states.
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