No. of Recommendations: 0
New short review of Libet from the Journal of Neuroscience available to all.

As a reminder, what Libet found was that when a person was told they were to have to make a decision, electrical activity in the brain (called the readiness potential or RP), was observed that reliably occurred prior to conscious awareness of making the decision. ”Libet et al. (1983) interpreted the RP as representing the brain decision “to initiate or, at least, prepare to initiate the act at a time before there is any reportable subjective awareness that such a decision has taken place.”

In other words, the unconscious brain makes the choice between A or B in the form of the RP prior to our conscious awareness. HOWEVER, since Libet’s studies several observations indicate that Libet’s interpretations were incorrect.

…humans can still cancel the initiation of a movement, even after the onset of the RP up to a point of no return ~200 ms before movement onset. Importantly however, it was found that, even after the onset of the movement, it is still possible to alter and abort the movement as it unfolds (Schultze-Kraft et al., 2016)

This means that the conscious mind can decide between A or B even after the RP. How is that not free will?

In addition, ”Alexander et al. (2016) revealed that robust RPs occur, even in the absence of movement. “

So an RP is not sufficient for a decision. Apparently something else is involved that is needed for the decision to occur. Conscious free will?

Best evidence at this point is that the RP is an indicator not that a decision has been made but that a decision is coming.
Print the post  


What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.