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Trends Neurosci. 2018 Jul;41(7):405-407. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2018.04.009.

Volition and the Brain - Revisiting a Classic Experimental Study.

Author information

1
Institute of Philosophy, University of London, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU, UK; Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging at University College London, 12 Queen Square, London WC1N 3BG, UK. Electronic address: c.frith@ucl.ac.uk.
2
Institute of Philosophy, University of London, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU, UK; Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London, 17 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AR, UK; Laboratoire de Neurosciences Cognitives, Département d'Études Cognitives, École Normale Supérieure, 29 Rue d'Ulm, Paris 75005, France. Electronic address: p.haggard@ucl.ac.uk.

Abstract

In 1983 Libet et al. demonstrated that brain activity associated with a voluntary act precedes conscious experience of the intention to act by several hundred milliseconds. The implication that it is the brain, rather than 'free will', that initiates voluntary acts has been discussed ever since by philosophers and lawyers, as well as by scientists. We show here how Libet's original study gave rise to an entire research field of experimental investigations of volition.

KEYWORDS:

Libet; agency; free will; regret; responsibility; volition

PMID:
29933770
PMCID:
PMC6024487
DOI:
10.1016/j.tins.2018.04.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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