Sich frei fühlen oder frei sein?

Translated title of the contribution: To feel free or to be free?

U. Spitzer, M. Figee, M. Mantione, D. Denys

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a relatively recent therapeutic intervention for patients with therapy-resistant obsessive compulsive disorder. The experienced lack of personal freedom and control can be positively altered by the use of electrical brain stimulation. This raises the question as to whether this "artificial freedom" is subjectively experienced by the patients. Qualitative data from a case report and from standardized interviews of three groups - OCD-patients treated pharmacologically, DBS-treated OCD-Patients, and student control subjects - are presented and a quantitative statistical analysis of betweengroup comparison are used to discuss the psychological aspects of freedom and control in OCD-patients, in particular, on and off DBS. It turns out that DBS-patients not only report subjective changes of their "feelings of freedom" but rather a change of their freedom of agency. In other words, they experience a change in their actual freedom and not just in the realm of subjective feelings about freedom.

Translated title of the contributionTo feel free or to be free?
Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)634-642
Number of pages9
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive control
  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Personal freedom
  • Subjective experience


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