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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Apr 9;110(15):6217-22. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1212218110. Epub 2013 Mar 18.

Predicting free choices for abstract intentions.

Author information

1
Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, 10115 Berlin, Germany. chunsiong.soon@duke-nus.edu.sg

Abstract

Unconscious neural activity has been repeatedly shown to precede and potentially even influence subsequent free decisions. However, to date, such findings have been mostly restricted to simple motor choices, and despite considerable debate, there is no evidence that the outcome of more complex free decisions can be predicted from prior brain signals. Here, we show that the outcome of a free decision to either add or subtract numbers can already be decoded from neural activity in medial prefrontal and parietal cortex 4 s before the participant reports they are consciously making their choice. These choice-predictive signals co-occurred with the so-called default mode brain activity pattern that was still dominant at the time when the choice-predictive signals occurred. Our results suggest that unconscious preparation of free choices is not restricted to motor preparation. Instead, decisions at multiple scales of abstraction evolve from the dynamics of preceding brain activity.

PMID:
23509300
PMCID:
PMC3625266
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1212218110
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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