September 21st, 2009

Anhinga, snakebird

More on perception of conscious will

The perception of conscious will is an inference. Daniel Wegner demonstrated a while ago, that it is easy to create experimental setups, where the subject has illusion of freely causing events, which are completely independent of his actions or intentions.

cognitivedaily is reporting on an experiment, which sheds some extra light on the inference of conscious will:

http://scienceblogs.com/cognitivedaily/2009/09/free_choice_may_not_be_as_free.php

Here, the subject presses the button, and the beep sounds as a result, but a random delay is added between pressing the button and the resulting beep sound. Then the subject is asked to pinpoint the moment of time, when the decision to press the button was made. It turns out that subjects on average estimate that moment as approximately 130 milliseconds before the beep sound (and that the estimate depends very weekly on the actual time when the subject pressed the button). Collapse )