August 7, 2012

Classic Free Will Experiment Wrong?

Anil Ananthaswamy, NewScientist

AP Photo

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.

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TAGGED: Neuroscience, Free Will


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