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File388 - Are free will and moral responsibility real or illusory? On the causal role of consciousness in decision-making, a combined EEG and intracranial study2016-02

Reference code: PT/FB
Entity holding: BIAL Foundation
Location: S. Mamede do Coronado
Title:
BIAL Foundation Archive
Start date: 1994
History:
The BIAL Foundation was created in 1994 by Laboratórios BIAL in conjunction with the Council of Rectors of Portuguese Universities. BIAL’s Foundation mission is to foster the scientific study of Man from both the physical and spiritual perspectives.
Along the years the BIAL Foundation has developed an important relationship with the scientific community, first in Portugal and after worldwide. Today it is an institution of reference which aims to stimulate new researches that may help people, promote more health and contribute to new milestones to gain access to knowledge.
Among its activities the BIAL Foundation manages the BIAL Award, created in 1984, one of the most important awards in the Health field in Europe. The BIAL Award rewards both the basic and the clinical research distinguishing works of major impact in medical research.
The BIAL Foundation also assigns Scientific Research Scholarships for the study of neurophysiological and mental health in people, arousing the interest of researchers in the areas of Psychophysiology and Parapsychology.
To date the BIAL Foundation has supported 461 projects, more than 1000 researchers, with research groups in twenty-seven countries, resulting, until April 2013, in about 600 full papers, out of which 172 published in indexed international journals with an average impact factor of 3.6 and a substantial number of citations (1665).
Since 1996 the BIAL Foundation organizes the Symposia entitled "Behind and Beyond the Brain", a Forum that gathers well renowned neurosciences speakers and the BIAL Foundation Fellows which are spread around the world.
Classified as an institution of public utility, the BIAL Foundation includes among its patrons the Portuguese President, the Portuguese Universities Rectors' Council and the Portuguese Medical Association.
URL: http://www.bial.com/pt/
Accessibility: By permission

Reference code: PT/FB/BL
Entity holding: BIAL Foundation
Title: BIAL Grants
Start date: 1994
History:
In 1994 the BIAL Foundation launched a programme of science research grants with the aim of encouraging the research into Man’s physical and mental processes, namely in fields still largely unexplored but which warrant further scientific analysis, as Psychophysiology and Parapsychology.
Since its launch, applications to the BIAL grants have been increasing. Up to now 461 projects have been supported, involving more than 1000 researchers from 27 countries.
The approved applications have benefited from grants in amounts comprised between €5,000 and €50, 000. The amount to be granted is fixed by the Scientific board according to the needs of each project.
The supported projects have originated, until April 2013, in about 600 full papers, 172 out of which were published in indexed international journals with an average impact factor of 3.6 and a substantial number of citations (1665).
Among the BIAL Foundation fellows is worth highlighting the presence of scientists from prestigious universities from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Russia, Germany, Japan, France, Canada, and many others.
The BIAL grants are promoted biannually.

Reference code: PT/FB/BL-2014
Location: BF-GMS
Title:
2014 Grants
Start date: 2015-01

Reference code: PT/FB/BL-2014-388
Location: BF-GMS
Title:
388 - Are free will and moral responsibility real or illusory? On the causal role of consciousness in decision-making, a combined EEG and intracranial study
Duration: 2016-02
Researcher(s):
Uri M. Maoz
Institution(s): California Institute of Technology - Caltech, Pasadena, (USA)
Abstract/Results: Contents:
Application form
Correspondence
Language: eng
Notes:
This project is still in progress
Author: Maoz, U.
Keywords:
Decision Making / Role of Consciousness in Decision Making / Free Will and Moral Responsibility / Decision Reversals / Psychophysiology

DocumentNeural precursors of decisions that matter — an ERP study of deliberate and arbitrary choice2018

Reference code: PT/FB
Entity holding: BIAL Foundation
Location: S. Mamede do Coronado
Title:
BIAL Foundation Archive
Start date: 1994
History:
The BIAL Foundation was created in 1994 by Laboratórios BIAL in conjunction with the Council of Rectors of Portuguese Universities. BIAL’s Foundation mission is to foster the scientific study of Man from both the physical and spiritual perspectives.
Along the years the BIAL Foundation has developed an important relationship with the scientific community, first in Portugal and after worldwide. Today it is an institution of reference which aims to stimulate new researches that may help people, promote more health and contribute to new milestones to gain access to knowledge.
Among its activities the BIAL Foundation manages the BIAL Award, created in 1984, one of the most important awards in the Health field in Europe. The BIAL Award rewards both the basic and the clinical research distinguishing works of major impact in medical research.
The BIAL Foundation also assigns Scientific Research Scholarships for the study of neurophysiological and mental health in people, arousing the interest of researchers in the areas of Psychophysiology and Parapsychology.
To date the BIAL Foundation has supported 461 projects, more than 1000 researchers, with research groups in twenty-seven countries, resulting, until April 2013, in about 600 full papers, out of which 172 published in indexed international journals with an average impact factor of 3.6 and a substantial number of citations (1665).
Since 1996 the BIAL Foundation organizes the Symposia entitled "Behind and Beyond the Brain", a Forum that gathers well renowned neurosciences speakers and the BIAL Foundation Fellows which are spread around the world.
Classified as an institution of public utility, the BIAL Foundation includes among its patrons the Portuguese President, the Portuguese Universities Rectors' Council and the Portuguese Medical Association.
URL: http://www.bial.com/pt/
Accessibility: By permission

Reference code: PT/FB/BL
Entity holding: BIAL Foundation
Title: BIAL Grants
Start date: 1994
History:
In 1994 the BIAL Foundation launched a programme of science research grants with the aim of encouraging the research into Man’s physical and mental processes, namely in fields still largely unexplored but which warrant further scientific analysis, as Psychophysiology and Parapsychology.
Since its launch, applications to the BIAL grants have been increasing. Up to now 461 projects have been supported, involving more than 1000 researchers from 27 countries.
The approved applications have benefited from grants in amounts comprised between €5,000 and €50, 000. The amount to be granted is fixed by the Scientific board according to the needs of each project.
The supported projects have originated, until April 2013, in about 600 full papers, 172 out of which were published in indexed international journals with an average impact factor of 3.6 and a substantial number of citations (1665).
Among the BIAL Foundation fellows is worth highlighting the presence of scientists from prestigious universities from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Russia, Germany, Japan, France, Canada, and many others.
The BIAL grants are promoted biannually.

Reference code: PT/FB/BL-2014
Location: BF-GMS
Title:
2014 Grants
Start date: 2015-01

Reference code: PT/FB/BL-2014-388
Location: BF-GMS
Title:
388 - Are free will and moral responsibility real or illusory? On the causal role of consciousness in decision-making, a combined EEG and intracranial study
Duration: 2016-02
Researcher(s):
Uri M. Maoz
Institution(s): California Institute of Technology - Caltech, Pasadena, (USA)
Abstract/Results: Contents:
Application form
Correspondence
Language: eng
Notes:
This project is still in progress
Author: Maoz, U.
Keywords:
Decision Making / Role of Consciousness in Decision Making / Free Will and Moral Responsibility / Decision Reversals / Psychophysiology

Reference code: PT/FB/BL-2014-388.02
Location: BF-GMS
Title:
Neural precursors of decisions that matter — an ERP study of deliberate and arbitrary choice
Publication year: 2018
URL:
https://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2018/01/04/097626
Abstract/Results: ABSTRACT:
The onset of the readiness potential (RP) — a key neural correlate of upcoming action — was repeatedly found to precede subjects' reports of having made an internal decision. This has been taken by some as evidence against a causal role for consciousness in human decision-making and thus as a denial of free-will. Yet those studies focused on purposeless, unreasoned, arbitrary decisions, bereft of consequences. It remains unknown to what degree these specific neural precursors of action generalize to deliberate decisions, which are more ecological and relevant to real life. We therefore directly compared the neural correlates of deliberate and arbitrary decision-making during a $1000-donation task to non-profit organizations. While we found the expected RPs for arbitrary decisions, they were strikingly absent for deliberate ones. Our results are congruent with the RP representing the accumulation of noisy, random fluctuations, which drive arbitrary — but not deliberate — decisions. The absence of RPs in deliberate decisions further points to different neural mechanisms underlying deliberate and arbitrary decisions and thus challenges the generalizability of studies that argue for no causal role for consciousness in decision making from arbitrary to deliberate, real-life decisions.
Accessibility: Document exists in file
Language:
eng
Author:
Maoz, U.
Secondary author(s):
Yaffe, G., Koch, C., Mudrik, L.
Document type:
Online paper
Reference:
Maoz, U., Yaffe, G., Koch, C., & Mudrik, L. (2018). Neural precursors of decisions that matter — an ERP study of deliberate and arbitrary choice. bioRxiv. doi: 10.1101/097626
Indexed document: No
Keywords: Volition / Decision-making / EEG / Deliberate decisions / Arbitrary decisions

Neural precursors of decisions that matter — an ERP study of deliberate and arbitrary choice

Neural precursors of decisions that matter — an ERP study of deliberate and arbitrary choice

DocumentTiming the onset of the decision to move in arbitrary and deliberate decisions2016

Reference code: PT/FB
Entity holding: BIAL Foundation
Location: S. Mamede do Coronado
Title:
BIAL Foundation Archive
Start date: 1994
History:
The BIAL Foundation was created in 1994 by Laboratórios BIAL in conjunction with the Council of Rectors of Portuguese Universities. BIAL’s Foundation mission is to foster the scientific study of Man from both the physical and spiritual perspectives.
Along the years the BIAL Foundation has developed an important relationship with the scientific community, first in Portugal and after worldwide. Today it is an institution of reference which aims to stimulate new researches that may help people, promote more health and contribute to new milestones to gain access to knowledge.
Among its activities the BIAL Foundation manages the BIAL Award, created in 1984, one of the most important awards in the Health field in Europe. The BIAL Award rewards both the basic and the clinical research distinguishing works of major impact in medical research.
The BIAL Foundation also assigns Scientific Research Scholarships for the study of neurophysiological and mental health in people, arousing the interest of researchers in the areas of Psychophysiology and Parapsychology.
To date the BIAL Foundation has supported 461 projects, more than 1000 researchers, with research groups in twenty-seven countries, resulting, until April 2013, in about 600 full papers, out of which 172 published in indexed international journals with an average impact factor of 3.6 and a substantial number of citations (1665).
Since 1996 the BIAL Foundation organizes the Symposia entitled "Behind and Beyond the Brain", a Forum that gathers well renowned neurosciences speakers and the BIAL Foundation Fellows which are spread around the world.
Classified as an institution of public utility, the BIAL Foundation includes among its patrons the Portuguese President, the Portuguese Universities Rectors' Council and the Portuguese Medical Association.
URL: http://www.bial.com/pt/
Accessibility: By permission

Reference code: PT/FB/BL
Entity holding: BIAL Foundation
Title: BIAL Grants
Start date: 1994
History:
In 1994 the BIAL Foundation launched a programme of science research grants with the aim of encouraging the research into Man’s physical and mental processes, namely in fields still largely unexplored but which warrant further scientific analysis, as Psychophysiology and Parapsychology.
Since its launch, applications to the BIAL grants have been increasing. Up to now 461 projects have been supported, involving more than 1000 researchers from 27 countries.
The approved applications have benefited from grants in amounts comprised between €5,000 and €50, 000. The amount to be granted is fixed by the Scientific board according to the needs of each project.
The supported projects have originated, until April 2013, in about 600 full papers, 172 out of which were published in indexed international journals with an average impact factor of 3.6 and a substantial number of citations (1665).
Among the BIAL Foundation fellows is worth highlighting the presence of scientists from prestigious universities from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Russia, Germany, Japan, France, Canada, and many others.
The BIAL grants are promoted biannually.

Reference code: PT/FB/BL-2014
Location: BF-GMS
Title:
2014 Grants
Start date: 2015-01

Reference code: PT/FB/BL-2014-388
Location: BF-GMS
Title:
388 - Are free will and moral responsibility real or illusory? On the causal role of consciousness in decision-making, a combined EEG and intracranial study
Duration: 2016-02
Researcher(s):
Uri M. Maoz
Institution(s): California Institute of Technology - Caltech, Pasadena, (USA)
Abstract/Results: Contents:
Application form
Correspondence
Language: eng
Notes:
This project is still in progress
Author: Maoz, U.
Keywords:
Decision Making / Role of Consciousness in Decision Making / Free Will and Moral Responsibility / Decision Reversals / Psychophysiology

Reference code: PT/FB/BL-2014-388.03
Location: BF-GMS
Title:
Timing the onset of the decision to move in arbitrary and deliberate decisions
Publication year: 2016
URL:
http://www.abstractsonline.com/pp8/index.html#!/4071/presentation/22603
Abstract/Results: ABSTRACT:
In its most general form, the Libet paradigm instructs subjects to arbitrarily move their left or their right hand, at a time of their choice, and report the time of the onset of their decision to move--henceforth W time--using a clock. It was shown that predictive information about upcoming action exists in the brain before W time. This led some to assert that conscious intentions play no part in the causal chain leading to action, rendering free will and moral responsibility illusory. However, free will and moral responsibility focus on deliberate decisions. So it is crucial to understand to what extent the Libet results extend to deliberate decisions. This was the focus of our investigation.
In the first part of the experiment, subjects tasted drinks and rated their favorability. In the second part of the experiment, subjects were presented with two randomly selected drinks and a rapidly changing stream of letters. The subjects then select a drink using the keyboard and reported the letter that was on the screen at the moment they decided which drink to select. The experiment included 3 types of decisions, in a randomly counterbalanced blocked design, with 10 trials per block. Subjects were informed that one trial per block would be selected and they would have to drink from the drinks presented in that trial, depending on the trial type. In deliberate-decision blocks, subjects were instructed to select the drink they preferred. To motivate them to deliberate, they were informed that they would only need to drink from the drink they chose on the selected trial at the end of the block. In arbitrary-different subjects were told that, regardless of their selection, they would have to drink both drinks in the selected trial, at the end of the block. In the arbitrary-same blocks, subjects were presented with the same drink twice, again motivating arbitrary selection. To ensure that subjects were paying attention throughout the experiment, we randomly introduced catch trials after some trials. There, subjects were required to identify which of the presented drinks was presented in the previous trial. If they answered incorrectly, they had to taste one of their least favorite drinks.
We observed clear and notable differences among the W time distributions for the 3 types of decisions, where the deliberate-decision block consistently resulted in earlier W time values compared to the other 2 arbitrary block types. This challenges the generalizability of the Libet results for arbitrary and deliberate decisions and, with that, the validity of the claims that free will and moral responsibility are illusory.
Accessibility: Document does not exist in file
Language:
eng
Author:
Ziari, N.
Secondary author(s):
Wong, S., Samad, M., Maoz, U.
Document type:
Online abstract
Reference:
Ziari, N., Wong, S., Samad, M., & Maoz, U. (2016, November). Timing the onset of the decision to move in arbitrary and deliberate decisions. Poster presented at the 46th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, San Diego. Abstract retrieved at http://www.abstractsonline.com/pp8/index.html#!/4071/presentation/22603
Indexed document: No
Keywords: Volition / Deliberate decisions / Arbitrary decisions

DocumentCan random number generation be taught implicitly?2016

Reference code: PT/FB
Entity holding: BIAL Foundation
Location: S. Mamede do Coronado
Title:
BIAL Foundation Archive
Start date: 1994
History:
The BIAL Foundation was created in 1994 by Laboratórios BIAL in conjunction with the Council of Rectors of Portuguese Universities. BIAL’s Foundation mission is to foster the scientific study of Man from both the physical and spiritual perspectives.
Along the years the BIAL Foundation has developed an important relationship with the scientific community, first in Portugal and after worldwide. Today it is an institution of reference which aims to stimulate new researches that may help people, promote more health and contribute to new milestones to gain access to knowledge.
Among its activities the BIAL Foundation manages the BIAL Award, created in 1984, one of the most important awards in the Health field in Europe. The BIAL Award rewards both the basic and the clinical research distinguishing works of major impact in medical research.
The BIAL Foundation also assigns Scientific Research Scholarships for the study of neurophysiological and mental health in people, arousing the interest of researchers in the areas of Psychophysiology and Parapsychology.
To date the BIAL Foundation has supported 461 projects, more than 1000 researchers, with research groups in twenty-seven countries, resulting, until April 2013, in about 600 full papers, out of which 172 published in indexed international journals with an average impact factor of 3.6 and a substantial number of citations (1665).
Since 1996 the BIAL Foundation organizes the Symposia entitled "Behind and Beyond the Brain", a Forum that gathers well renowned neurosciences speakers and the BIAL Foundation Fellows which are spread around the world.
Classified as an institution of public utility, the BIAL Foundation includes among its patrons the Portuguese President, the Portuguese Universities Rectors' Council and the Portuguese Medical Association.
URL: http://www.bial.com/pt/
Accessibility: By permission

Reference code: PT/FB/BL
Entity holding: BIAL Foundation
Title: BIAL Grants
Start date: 1994
History:
In 1994 the BIAL Foundation launched a programme of science research grants with the aim of encouraging the research into Man’s physical and mental processes, namely in fields still largely unexplored but which warrant further scientific analysis, as Psychophysiology and Parapsychology.
Since its launch, applications to the BIAL grants have been increasing. Up to now 461 projects have been supported, involving more than 1000 researchers from 27 countries.
The approved applications have benefited from grants in amounts comprised between €5,000 and €50, 000. The amount to be granted is fixed by the Scientific board according to the needs of each project.
The supported projects have originated, until April 2013, in about 600 full papers, 172 out of which were published in indexed international journals with an average impact factor of 3.6 and a substantial number of citations (1665).
Among the BIAL Foundation fellows is worth highlighting the presence of scientists from prestigious universities from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Russia, Germany, Japan, France, Canada, and many others.
The BIAL grants are promoted biannually.

Reference code: PT/FB/BL-2014
Location: BF-GMS
Title:
2014 Grants
Start date: 2015-01

Reference code: PT/FB/BL-2014-388
Location: BF-GMS
Title:
388 - Are free will and moral responsibility real or illusory? On the causal role of consciousness in decision-making, a combined EEG and intracranial study
Duration: 2016-02
Researcher(s):
Uri M. Maoz
Institution(s): California Institute of Technology - Caltech, Pasadena, (USA)
Abstract/Results: Contents:
Application form
Correspondence
Language: eng
Notes:
This project is still in progress
Author: Maoz, U.
Keywords:
Decision Making / Role of Consciousness in Decision Making / Free Will and Moral Responsibility / Decision Reversals / Psychophysiology

Reference code: PT/FB/BL-2014-388.04
Location: BF-GMS
Title:
Can random number generation be taught implicitly?
Publication year: 2016
URL:
http://www.abstractsonline.com/pp8/index.html#!/4071/presentation/12096
Abstract/Results: ABSTRACT:
Human ability to be random, as the flipside of predictability, is important for various neuroscience fields, such as decision-making, volition, and theory of mind. So it is no surprise that it has drawn interest over the years. Most research finds human ability to be random lacking, with people underestimating the the chance likelihood of repeated events, for example. It is therefore probably that we could train human subjects to be more random by explicitly pointing out their deviations from randomness and asking them to correct those. But to what degree could humans be implicitly taught to be random?
To test this, we constructed a 3-part experiment. In all parts, subjects selected one of 3 options—rock, paper, or scissors—using the keyboard. In the first part of the experiment, we instructed subjects to generate a 100-long series of rock, paper, and scissors that would be as random as possible. They received no feedback on how random the series was. In the second part of the experiment, subjects played 100 trials of rock/paper/scissors against the computer. This time, they were told whether they won, tied, or lost. The computer used a prediction algorithm that searched for patterns in each subject’s transitions between rock, paper, and scissors, taking into account also wins, ties, and losses. Thus, subjects’ best strategy was to be as random as possible. Half the subjects were told of the algorithm, the others were not. In the third and last part of the experiment, subjects were once again instructed to generate a 100-long random series of rock, paper, and scissors, with no feedback. Before part 1 of the experiment, participants filled out a short questionnaire about their confidence and knowledge of randomness. After part 3, they further filled out a short questionnaire about their experience and to gauged their own performance during the study. The objective was to test whether any learning that occurred during the game part also generalized to simple, non-competitive random sequence generation.
We determined the degree of randomness of the sequences using tests for equiprobability of events outcome (one third each for rock paper and scissors); sequential independence (how well previous trials can predict the current trial); event symmetry; and repetition or repetition avoidance. Preliminary results suggest that some subjects are better able to create random sequences than others. There is also evidence that subjects do learn to become more random as the experiment progresses. We expect more control experiments to shed more light on the effect of implicit learning on random-sequence generation in humans.
Accessibility: Document does not exist in file
Language:
eng
Author:
Maoz, U.
Secondary author(s):
Merholz, G.
Document type:
Online abstract
Reference:
Maoz, U., & Merholz, G. (2016). Can random number generation be taught implicitly? Poster presented at the 46th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, San Diego. Abstract retrieved at http://www.abstractsonline.com/pp8/index.html#!/4071/presentation/12096
Indexed document: No
Keywords: Random number generation (RNG)

DocumentFinal report - Are free will and moral responsibility real or illusory? On the causal role of consciousness in decision-making, a combined EEG and intracranial study2018

Reference code: PT/FB
Entity holding: BIAL Foundation
Location: S. Mamede do Coronado
Title:
BIAL Foundation Archive
Start date: 1994
History:
The BIAL Foundation was created in 1994 by Laboratórios BIAL in conjunction with the Council of Rectors of Portuguese Universities. BIAL’s Foundation mission is to foster the scientific study of Man from both the physical and spiritual perspectives.
Along the years the BIAL Foundation has developed an important relationship with the scientific community, first in Portugal and after worldwide. Today it is an institution of reference which aims to stimulate new researches that may help people, promote more health and contribute to new milestones to gain access to knowledge.
Among its activities the BIAL Foundation manages the BIAL Award, created in 1984, one of the most important awards in the Health field in Europe. The BIAL Award rewards both the basic and the clinical research distinguishing works of major impact in medical research.
The BIAL Foundation also assigns Scientific Research Scholarships for the study of neurophysiological and mental health in people, arousing the interest of researchers in the areas of Psychophysiology and Parapsychology.
To date the BIAL Foundation has supported 461 projects, more than 1000 researchers, with research groups in twenty-seven countries, resulting, until April 2013, in about 600 full papers, out of which 172 published in indexed international journals with an average impact factor of 3.6 and a substantial number of citations (1665).
Since 1996 the BIAL Foundation organizes the Symposia entitled "Behind and Beyond the Brain", a Forum that gathers well renowned neurosciences speakers and the BIAL Foundation Fellows which are spread around the world.
Classified as an institution of public utility, the BIAL Foundation includes among its patrons the Portuguese President, the Portuguese Universities Rectors' Council and the Portuguese Medical Association.
URL: http://www.bial.com/pt/
Accessibility: By permission

Reference code: PT/FB/BL
Entity holding: BIAL Foundation
Title: BIAL Grants
Start date: 1994
History:
In 1994 the BIAL Foundation launched a programme of science research grants with the aim of encouraging the research into Man’s physical and mental processes, namely in fields still largely unexplored but which warrant further scientific analysis, as Psychophysiology and Parapsychology.
Since its launch, applications to the BIAL grants have been increasing. Up to now 461 projects have been supported, involving more than 1000 researchers from 27 countries.
The approved applications have benefited from grants in amounts comprised between €5,000 and €50, 000. The amount to be granted is fixed by the Scientific board according to the needs of each project.
The supported projects have originated, until April 2013, in about 600 full papers, 172 out of which were published in indexed international journals with an average impact factor of 3.6 and a substantial number of citations (1665).
Among the BIAL Foundation fellows is worth highlighting the presence of scientists from prestigious universities from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Russia, Germany, Japan, France, Canada, and many others.
The BIAL grants are promoted biannually.

Reference code: PT/FB/BL-2014
Location: BF-GMS
Title:
2014 Grants
Start date: 2015-01

Reference code: PT/FB/BL-2014-388
Location: BF-GMS
Title:
388 - Are free will and moral responsibility real or illusory? On the causal role of consciousness in decision-making, a combined EEG and intracranial study
Duration: 2016-02
Researcher(s):
Uri M. Maoz
Institution(s): California Institute of Technology - Caltech, Pasadena, (USA)
Abstract/Results: Contents:
Application form
Correspondence
Language: eng
Notes:
This project is still in progress
Author: Maoz, U.
Keywords:
Decision Making / Role of Consciousness in Decision Making / Free Will and Moral Responsibility / Decision Reversals / Psychophysiology

Reference code: PT/FB/BL-2014-388.01
Location: BF-GMS
Title:
Final report - Are free will and moral responsibility real or illusory? On the causal role of consciousness in decision-making, a combined EEG and intracranial study
Publication year: 2018
Abstract/Results:
ABSTRACT:
BACKGROUND
The onset of the readiness potential (RP)—a key neural correlate of upcoming action—was repeatedly found to precede subjects’ reports of having made an internal decision. This has been taken by some as evidence against a causal role for consciousness in human decision-making and thus as a denial of free-will. Yet those studies focused on purposeless, unreasoned, arbitrary decisions, bereft of consequences. It remains unknown to what degree these specific neural precursors of action generalize to deliberate decisions, which are more ecological and relevant to real life, and certainly pertain more to the realm of moral responsibility.
AIMS
We aimed to test whether arbitrary and deliberate decision-making share the same neural mechanisms. In particular, we wanted to test whether the RP is similar between arbitrary and deliberate decisions.
METHOD
We directly compared the neural correlates of deliberate and arbitrary decision-making during a $1000-donation task to non profit organizations using EEG.
RESULTS
While we found the expected RPs for arbitrary decisions, they were strikingly absent for deliberate ones.
CONCLUSIONS
Our results are congruent with the RP representing the accumulation of noisy, random fluctuations, which drive arbitrary—but not deliberate—decisions. The absence of RPs in deliberate decisions challenges the generalizability of studies that argue for no causal role for consciousness in decision making from arbitrary to deliberate, real-life decisions.
Accessibility: Document exists in file
Language:
eng
Author:
Maoz, U.
Document type:
Final report
Reference:
Maoz, U. (2018). Final report - Are free will and moral responsibility real or illusory? On the causal role of consciousness in decision-making, a combined EEG and intracranial study.
Indexed document: No
Keywords: Volition / Decision-making / EEG / Deliberate decisions / Arbitrary decisions

Final report - Are free will and moral responsibility real or illusory? On the causal role of consciousness in decision-making, a combined EEG and intracranial study

Final report - Are free will and moral responsibility real or illusory? On the causal role of consciousness in decision-making, a combined EEG and intracranial study