Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Reply to comment

alexa09's picture

the brain/mind

Is there really an I-function? Do we really have any say in our actions? What is the definition of free will? According to Mark Hallett, a researcher at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, "Free will does exist, but it's a perception, not a power or a driving force. People experience free will. They have the sense they are free.”

But the perception of being free does not necessary mean that it exists. According to Benjamin Libet’s research during the 1970s, Dr. Libet found that brain signals associated with random motions (such as pressing a button or flicking a finger) occurred half a second before the subject was conscious of deciding to make them. This means the brain perceives motion before it makes the decision to make it. From personal experience, I have experienced times when I make a decision without consciously realizing I am making the decision. When I was in fifth grade I went to an amusement park. There were people miming and a mime came up to a little boy and blew on a deflated balloon. The mime did this several times, before trying it to me; I blew on the deflated balloon and the balloon became inflated. Afterwards I realized I did not know when I made the decision to blow on the balloon; now I can only assume that my unconscious brain made the decision first before my conscious brain knew.


To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
8 + 4 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.