Plagiarism as an illusional sense of authorship: The effect of predictability on source attribution of thought

Eriko Sugimori*, Shinji Kitagami

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Previous studies have shown that contextually high-predictability ideas are essential for one to sense the authorship of thoughts and that having the sense that one came up with an idea of one's own, instead of through hearing of another's idea, results in the feeling that one has output the ideas. In this study, we investigated the effects of an idea's predictability on the misattribution of another's thought to oneself. The participants were asked to write down two original ideas about how to use various objects while avoiding the duplication of another's ideas that had been presented beforehand in an input-output phase. In the monitoring phase (1. week and 1. month after the input-output phase), the participants were asked whether each idea had been generated by them, by another, or not generated at all. We found that a high-predictability idea is likely to be regarded with the notion "I generated the idea." This tendency increased with time, suggesting that participants were more likely to have a sense of authorship when high-predictability ideas were presented. We also discovered that they were more likely to conclude that the source of high-predictability ideas was the "Self." We discussed the results from the viewpoint of the participant's sense of agency as well.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-39
Number of pages5
JournalActa Psychologica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013 May 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Agency memory
  • Memory
  • Output monitoring
  • Sense of agency
  • Sense of authorship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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