Read The Forum Rules: We have a clear set of rules to keep the forum running smoothly. Click here to review them.

Post Reply 
Free will could be the result of 'background noise' in the brain
Author Message
Parlay44 Offline
Peacock
******
Gold Member

Posts: 6,602
Joined: Aug 2011
Reputation: 67
Post: #1
Free will could be the result of 'background noise' in the brain
Free will could be the result of 'background noise' in the brain, study suggests

[Image: FW.jpg]


The concept of free will could be little more than the result of background noise in the brain, according to a recent study.

It has previously been suggested that our perceived ability to make autonomous choices is an illusion – and now scientists from the Center for Mind and Brain at the University of California, Davis, have found that free will may actually be the result of electrical activity in the brain.

According to the research, published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, decisions could be predicted based on the pattern of brain activity immediately before a choice was made.

Volunteers in the study were asked to sit in front of a screen and focus on its central point while their brains’ electrical activity was recorded. They were then asked to make a decision to look either left or right when a cue symbol appeared on the screen, and then to report their decision.

The cue to look left or right appeared at random intervals, so the volunteers could not consciously or unconsciously prepare for it.

The brain has a normal level of so-called background noise; the researchers found that the pattern of activity in the brain in the seconds before the cue symbol appeared - before the volunteers knew they were going to make a choice - could predict the likely outcome of the decision.





“The state of the brain right before presentation of the cue determines whether you will attend to the left or to the right,” Bengson said.

And in an email to Live Science, Bengson said: “[Though] purposeful intentions, desires and goals drive our decisions in a linear cause-and-effect kind of way, our finding shows that our decisions are also influenced by neural noise within any given moment.

“This random firing, or noise, may even be the carrier upon which our consciousness rides, in the same way that radio static is used to carry a radio station.”

This latest experiment is an extension of psychologist Benjamin Libet’s 1970s research into the brain’s electrical activity immediately before a decision.

Libet asked volunteers to press a switch in response to a visual signal - but whereas he had to rely on the participants telling him when they made their choice, Bengson explained that the random nature of the new study meant that "we know people aren't making the decision in advance".

"It inserts a random effect that allows us to be freed from simple cause and effect," Bengson said.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/scienc...53678.html

Team Nachos
06-23-2014 09:08 AM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Samseau Offline
Owl
******
Gold Member

Posts: 14,668
Joined: Mar 2010
Reputation: 293
Post: #2
RE: Free will could be the result of 'background noise' in the brain
Quote:The brain has a normal level of so-called background noise; the researchers found that the pattern of activity in the brain in the seconds before the cue symbol appeared - before the volunteers knew they were going to make a choice - could predict the likely outcome of the decision.

That's a weak hypothesis. How do they know that the brain activity that started before the symbol appeared was the cause of the choice?

Question begging here.

Contributor at Return of Kings. You can follow me on Gab.
06-23-2014 09:53 AM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[-] The following 1 user Likes Samseau's post:
Bad Hussar
demolition Offline
Woodpecker
**

Posts: 268
Joined: Sep 2013
Reputation: 2
Post: #3
RE: Free will could be the result of 'background noise' in the brain
Experiments like this have been done before.
But as an actual person, believing that your decisions are predetermined is associated with worse life outcomes and greater unhappiness. (IIRC.)
Making a Pascal's Wager in favor of free will is the only sensible course of action.
06-25-2014 07:46 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[-] The following 5 users Like demolition's post:
Eusebius, JoeMusashi, Katatonic, void, Bad Hussar
JayJuanGee Offline
Crow
*****
Gold Member

Posts: 6,259
Joined: Aug 2013
Reputation: 80
Post: #4
RE: Free will could be the result of 'background noise' in the brain
(06-25-2014 07:46 PM)demolition Wrote:  Experiments like this have been done before.
But as an actual person, believing that your decisions are predetermined is associated with worse life outcomes and greater unhappiness. (IIRC.)
Making a Pascal's Wager in favor of free will is the only sensible course of action.

I am also frequently bothered when I read various studies about the lack of free will or the absence of free will. Many times these lack of free will arguments degrade us by suggesting that we really do NOT have a choice.

Sometimes people will engage in outrageously socially deviant behaviors just to prove to themselves that there is free will.. including suicide...

As a living person, most of us probably are NOT so convinced that suicide is a good idea.. at least, not yet?
06-25-2014 10:35 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[-] The following 1 user Likes JayJuanGee's post:
Beyond Borders
monster Offline
Pelican
****

Posts: 1,741
Joined: Feb 2014
Reputation: 11
Post: #5
RE: Free will could be the result of 'background noise' in the brain
Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills.
― Arthur Schopenhauer, Essays and Aphorisms
06-30-2014 03:58 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[-] The following 2 users Like monster's post:
roberto, void
void Offline
Pelican
****

Posts: 1,223
Joined: Apr 2012
Reputation: 5
Post: #6
RE: Free will could be the result of 'background noise' in the brain
The way I interpret this experiment, my mental state and agenda determines/influences my decisions. Nothing new here.
We discussed "Intention" in the other thread. If you do not want to really get laid or you absolutely don't care, you will not (as a man).

Brought to you by Carl's Jr.
07-02-2014 04:31 AM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply 


Forum Jump:


User(s) browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)

Contact Us | RooshV.com | Return to Top | Return to Content | Mobile Version | RSS Syndication