Is There Really a Loss of Agency in Patients With Apraxia of Tool Use?


  • Osiurak François
  • Lesourd Mathieu
  • Rossetti Yves
  • Baumard Josselin


  • Sense of agency
  • Technical reasoning
  • Tool use Edited
  • Apraxia
  • Tool use
  • Motor action

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The sense of agency refers to the experience of controlling one’s own motor actions and, as a result, external events (Pacherie, 2008; Haggard and Chambon, 2012). Surprisingly, this aspect has been largely overlooked in the literature on apraxia, a disorder affecting skilled and volitional movements (De Renzi, 1989). In this context, an outstanding issue is whether loss of agency is an ignored dimension of apraxia—and particularly of apraxia of tool use (see below)—or whether loss of agency and apraxia of tool use are two independent syndromes based on distinct neurocognitive mechanisms. The goal of this Opinion article is to tackle this issue. Note that we will mainly focus here on apraxia of tool use, namely, difficulties in selecting appropriate everyday tools and/or in performing the mechanical action needed to complete a task. This is only one of the manifestations of apraxia, which may also concern the production of symbolic, meaningful, or meaningless gestures (Osiurak and Rossetti, 2017).

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