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Does Free Will Exist? Neuroscience Can't Disprove It Yet. - The Atlantic
An experiment in the 60's claimed to have recorded the brain's decision to make a physical movement slightly before the person actually moved, ergo the brain acts on its own (not free will). A modern scientist discovered the brain uptick was probably a natural brain cycle, firings that come in waves like the ocean, that, absent any analytical context, would push a person to move at the peak vs. the valley. But decisions aren't usually absent context. So back to the start we go.
neuroscience  science  brain  freewill  philosophy 
7 weeks ago by emmacarlson
Does Free Will Exist? Neuroscience Can't Disprove It Yet. - The Atlantic
In other words, people’s subjective experience of a decision—what Libet’s study seemed to suggest was just an illusion—appeared to match the actual moment their brains showed them making a decision.
neuroscience  science  brain  freewill  2019 
8 weeks ago by leftywill
[no title]
The main new revelation is that the apparent build-up of this activity, up until about
200 ms pre-movement, may reflect the
ebb and flow of background neuronal
noise, rather than the outcome of a specific
neural event corresponding to a ‘decision’
to initiate movement. In particular, two
independent studies, one using electroencephalography (EEG) recordings in
humans [5] and the other using single-unit
recordings in rats [6], have converged in
showing that bounded-integration processes, which involve the accumulation of
noisy evidence until a decision threshold is
reached, offer a coherent and plausible
explanation for the apparent pre-movement build-up of neuronal activity
libet  freewill  brain 
9 weeks ago by asl2
Does Free Will Exist? Neuroscience Can't Disprove It Yet. - The Atlantic
This would not imply, as Libet had thought, that people’s brains “decide” to move their fingers before they know it. Hardly. Rather, it would mean that the noisy activity in people’s brains sometimes happens to tip the scale if there’s nothing else to base a choice on, saving us from endless indecision when faced with an arbitrary task. The Bereitschaftspotential would be the rising part of the brain fluctuations that tend to coincide with the decisions. This is a highly specific situation, not a general case for all, or even many, choices.

Other recent studies support the idea of the Bereitschaftspotential as a symmetry-breaking signal
brain  psychology  freewill  libet 
9 weeks ago by asl2
Does Free Will Exist? Neuroscience Can't Disprove It Yet. - The Atlantic
For decades, a landmark brain study fed speculation about whether we control our own actions. It seems to have made a classic mistake.
freewill  brain  neuroscience  science 
9 weeks ago by thejaymo
A famous argument against free will has been debunked • The Atlantic
Bahar Gholipour:
<p>The participants sat in a chair, tucked neatly in a metal tollbooth, with only one task: to flex a finger on their right hand at whatever irregular intervals pleased them, over and over, up to 500 times a visit.

The purpose of this experiment was to search for signals in the participants’ brains that preceded each finger tap. At the time, researchers knew how to measure brain activity that occurred in response to events out in the world—when a person hears a song, for instance, or looks at a photograph—but no one had figured out how to isolate the signs of someone’s brain actually initiating an action.

The experiment’s results came in squiggly, dotted lines, a representation of changing brain waves. In the milliseconds leading up to the finger taps, the lines showed an almost undetectably faint uptick: a wave that rose for about a second, like a drumroll of firing neurons, then ended in an abrupt crash. This flurry of neuronal activity, which the scientists called the Bereitschaftspotential, or readiness potential, was like a gift of infinitesimal time travel. For the first time, they could see the brain readying itself to create a voluntary movement.

This momentous discovery was the beginning of a lot of trouble in neuroscience. Twenty years later, the American physiologist Benjamin Libet used the Bereitschaftspotential to make the case not only that the brain shows signs of a decision before a person acts, but that, incredibly, the brain’s wheels start turning before the person even consciously intends to do something. Suddenly, people’s choices—even a basic finger tap—appeared to be determined by something outside of their own perceived volition.</p>


This is a fascinating correlation v causation tale - and a great example of how science works when it works best.
brain  freewill  neuroscience 
9 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Free Will & Willpower Are Becoming a Thing of the Past. Here’s What You Can Do About It.
Over-stimulating foods containing refined sugar and other refined carbs (although this form of addiction has only intensified since the industrial revolution). The very technologies that provide…
freewill  willpower  addiction  dopamine  environment 
july 2019 by davidkoren

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