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Is an NPC under control thoughts able to act of their own accord, or are they just zombified and awaiting further instructions from the mage controlling them?
GM's may have a different take then mine, but...
QUOTE (SR4a pg 210)
The caster seizes control of the target’s mind, directing everything the target does. The caster mentally gives commands with a Simple Action and the target is compelled to obey.

Sure suggests robot to me. If the target has no control over their mind, then they aren't doing things of their own initiative. I've felt this is redundant with Control Action, with CA being slightly worse for less drain.

acting of their own accord spells include Influence and Control Emotion. There may be others I'm not thinking of too.
Look at the lower drain "Mob Control" spell. That merely reduces the victims to spectators in their own bodies.

Control thoughts turns them into your new best friend and their own worst enemy. So yes I'd say it zombifies them mind and body.

Neko Asakami
The difference is Control Action allows them to act as they normally would when you're not directing them (SR4A, pg 210 "Controlling a target character requires the caster to spend a Simple Action; when not directly controlled, the victim may act as normal.") Control Thoughts does turn them into a robot (as quoted by Krishach), hence the higher drain.
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