Home / Fellows / Patrick Haggard


Patrick Haggard

University College London
Bodily building blocks of subjectivity
01 October 2016 -
31 October 2016,
01 May 2017 -
31 May 2017

Patrick Haggard is professor of cognitive neuroscience at University College London (UCL) and research group leader at the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. His research interests focus on the control of voluntary human actions, and on bodily experience.  Since his PhD in 1991, he has developed a significant research presence in both fields, with almost 300 peer-reviewed publications, authoritative review papers, keynote addresses, and major research grants.  His research approach is profoundly interdisciplinary.  He uses the methods of brain science to investigate fundamental questions about human subjectivity and mental life, such as sense of agency, and sense of self.  This approach derives from his conviction that understanding the mechanisms that underlie an experience or a behaviour can contribute to a correct analysis of its significance and function.  His work is widely cited and discussed in philosophy and social science.  He has collaborated with researchers in philosophy, law, psychiatry, neurology, dance science, computer science and engineering.

Research interests

Control of voluntary human actions; Bodily experience; Human subjectivity

Bodily building blocks of subjectivity

Bodily sensation is an important foundation of self-awareness.  Neurophysiology gives us a clear picture of the pre-processing: the different somatic receptors and their afferent pathways are relatively well understood.  Further, neuropsychological evidence shows that these inputs are necessary for normal bodily awareness.  However, the processes that transform specific sensory inputs into a general sense of one’s own body are scarcely understood.  Key aspects of this wider concept of bodily awareness may include: coherence and integration across sensory submodalities, plasticity and assimilation in the cortex of multiple somatic maps, and the construction and storage of representations of the body that is abstracted from current inputs and outputs.  This project aims to identify and describe these processes, with the central goal of showing how they might contribute to the sense of self, and what kind of self that might therefore be.

Key publications

« Human volition: towards a neuroscience of will », Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 9, 2016, pp. 934-946

« Coercion changes the sense of agency in the human brain » (avec E.A. Caspar, J.F. Christensen et A. Cleeremans), Current Biology, 26(5), 2016, pp. 585-592

« Endogenous Action Selection Processes in Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Contribute to Sense of Agency: a Meta-Analysis of tDCS Studies of ‘Intentional Binding’ » (avec N. Khalighinejad et S. Di Costa), Brain Stimulation, 9(3), 2016, pp. 372-379

« Choosing to Stop: Responses Evoked by Externally Triggered and Internally Generated Inhibition Identify a Neural Mechanism of Will » (avec J. Parkinson), Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 27(10), 2015, pp. 1948-1956

« Spatial sensory organization and body representation in pain perception » (avec G.D. Iannetti et M. Longo), Current Biology, 23(4), 2013, pp. 164-176

Talk by P. Haggard, Paris IAS fellow
28 Oct 2016 16:00 -
28 Oct 2016 18:00,
Paris :
New developments in volition
Conference organized by P. Haggard (Paris IAS / UCL), and F. de Vignemont (CNRS, Institut Jean Nicod)
10 Oct 2016 09:00 -
11 Oct 2016 18:30,
Paris :
Bodily sensations and bodily awareness: building blocks of subjectivity
Contemporary period (1789-…)
World or no region