“Neuropsychiatry and the ontology of agency”
Abstract: The development of new therapeutic methods for intervening in brain function have the potential to influence a person’s autonomy and authenticity. In order to determine whether or not this is the case, we need an assay that can measure aspects of agency before and after neurointervention. Here I introduce a framework for thinking about agency as a multidimensional construct, and describe a research project aimed at measuring agency. We develop an Agency Assessment Tool (AAT) using survey and behavioral methods. I present preliminary results from the project that show that the AAT is able to discern control and patient groups, and discuss the prospects for using data-driven tools to come up with ontologies of agency.