August 7, 2012
Classic Free Will Experiment Wrong?
Anil Ananthaswamy, NewScientist
Advocates of free will can rest easy, for now. A 30-year-old classic experiment that is often used to argue against free will might have been misinterpreted.
In the early 1980s, Benjamin Libet, a neuroscientist at the University of California in San Francisco, used electroencephalography (EEG) to record the brain activity of volunteers who had been told to make a spontaneous movement. With the help of a precise timer that the volunteers were asked to read at the moment they became aware of the urge to act, Libet found there was a 200 millisecond delay, on average, between this urge and the movement itself.
TAGGED: neuroscience, free will