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Nat Neurosci. 2008 May;11(5):543-5. doi: 10.1038/nn.2112. Epub 2008 Apr 13.

Unconscious determinants of free decisions in the human brain.

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  • 1Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Stephanstrasse 1A, 04103 Leipzig, Germany.

Abstract

There has been a long controversy as to whether subjectively 'free' decisions are determined by brain activity ahead of time. We found that the outcome of a decision can be encoded in brain activity of prefrontal and parietal cortex up to 10 s before it enters awareness. This delay presumably reflects the operation of a network of high-level control areas that begin to prepare an upcoming decision long before it enters awareness.

PMID:
18408715
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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