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The antecedents of free will: The importance of concept heterogeneity inresearch interpretation and discussion
University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Scientific research on free will was started by Libet et al. (1982). They detected that thereadiness potential (RP) proceeded urges with up to 350ms. One interpretation of the RP wasthat it represented motor planning. The research progress of antecedent brain activity inrelation to conscious urges is investigated by looking at contemporary studies. How differentassumptions and definitions of the free will concept influences interpretation of these studiesis also discussed. The evidence is in favor that the RP is not representing motor planning.Antecedent activity has been detected with numerous technologies, most notably fMRIclassifiers which have been used to predict decisions in advance. Scrutiny of these resultsreveals that the experimental setups are dependent on time-locking trials which may construethe results. It is shown that predictions based on probabilistic antecedents can be interpretedin numerous ways. The review shows that free will positions differ from each other onseveral factors, such as whether free will is either-or or exists on a spectrum. Some notablepositions are not dependent on antecedent activity at all. The notion of control is one of thepivotal factors deciding if a subject experience free will, not if they are the causer per se.Future discussion will be improved by systematizing the differences between the free willpositions and communicating them clearly. Convergent evidence points at the explanatorymodel of free will being a cognitive feeling – A feeling which reports ownership over actionsbut does not cause them.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 72
Keywords [en]
Libet, readiness potential, fMRI classifier, free will
National Category
Neurosciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-15484OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-15484DiVA, id: diva2:1215915
Subject / course
Cognitive Neuroscience
Educational program
Cognitive Neuroscience: Mind, Brain and Wellbeing - Master’s Programme
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-06-11 Created: 2018-06-10 Last updated: 2018-06-11Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf