Sunday, December 31, 2017

The readiness potential is irrelevant to conscious volition

The RP has been erroneously used for a long time in claiming it demonstrates that we have no free will or executive control over our actions. This recent article challenges that view, excerpt below. (Search for 'free will,' 'Libet,' or 'readiness potential' in the search box for several other past posts on the topic.)

"The main new revelation is that the apparent build-up of this activity, up until about 200 ms pre-movement, may reflect the ebb and flow of background neuronal noise, rather than the outcome of a specific neural event corresponding to a ‘decision’ to initiate movement. [...] This account departs dramatically from the longstanding assumptions about the nature of the RP and so calls for a reevaluation and reinterpretation of a large body of prior work." 

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