No Free Will?
What if the manner in which human
decisions are arrived at was shown
to be a mostly unconscious process?
What if "free will" was merely an
illusion, a 'trick' of the human brain,
if you will, giving us the impression
that we are in 'control' of our acts
while masking the fact that our acts
result from brain activity we are
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April 15, 2008
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Graphic -- Brain regions (shown in green)
from which the outcome of a participant's
decision can be predicted before it is made.
The top shows an enlarged 3D view of a
pattern of brain activity in one informative
brain region ... [which can] then be used
to predict the outcome of a decision up
to 7 seconds before a person thinks he is
consciously making the decision.
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Contrary to what most of us would like
to believe, decision-making may be a pro-
cess handled to a large extent by uncon-
scious mental activity. A team of scien-
tists has unraveled how the brain actually
unconsciously prepares our decisions.
Even several seconds before we con-
sciously make a decision its outcome
can be predicted from unconscious
activity in the brain.
"Many processes in the brain occur auto-
matically and without involvement of
our consciousness. This prevents our
mind from being overloaded by simple
routine tasks. But when it comes to
decisions we tend to assume they are
made by our conscious mind. This is
questioned by our current findings."
The fact that decisions can be predicted
so long before they are made is a aston-
... brain activity predicts -- even up to
7 seconds ahead of time -- how a per-
son is going to decide.
But they also warn that the study does
not finally rule out free will: "Our study
shows that decisions are unconsciously
prepared much longer ahead than previ-
ously thought. But we do not know yet
where the final decision is made. We
need to investigate whether a decision
prepared by these brain areas can still
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Each of us is both an influence-provider
-and- an influenced result. This post,
for example, resulted from a long his-
tory of my interest in this topic + read-
ing about this story elsewhere + reading
this story today + the totality of all my
life experiences + the totality of my gen-
etic make-up, consisting of billions of
years (at least) of information storage /
transference, + the circumstances I find
myself in at this exact moment.
Such is the case in each moment each
of us participates in, far more complex
and outside the simple notions of credit
and blame and 'free will' that each of us
has been programmed, from birth, to
accept as 'reality'.
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