It wasn't me: The role of perspective in self-perceptions of responsibility

Brittany M Tausen, Lynden K Miles, Louisa Lawrie, C Neil Macrae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Perceiving oneself as agentic is dependent upon the integration of conscious intention, a corresponding outcome, and body-congruent sensorimotor information. Altering these critical cues, such as the vantage point from which an event is viewed, can have a notable impact on one's sense of agency, including an increased sense of ownership over another person's actions or a reduced sense of responsibility (or control) over one's own actions. In three studies, we investigated whether mentally simulated and written perspectives could have similar effects. Participants were asked to consider ambiguous actions from either a first-person or a third-person perspective. Results revealed that third-person perspectives reduced judgments of personal responsibility for positive and negative actions. Perceptions of personal action execution as well as the perceived overlap between one's real and imagined self were identified as mediators of the reduced sense of responsibility that characterized negative, but not positive, events constructed from a third-person perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-98
Number of pages10
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Early online date30 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2018


  • Journal Article
  • Perspective
  • Agency
  • Personal responsibility
  • Self-perception


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