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In this clip, Marcus Du Sautoy (Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford and current Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science) participates in an experiment conducted by John-Dylan Haynes (Professor at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Berlin) that attempts to find the neurological basis for decision making.
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Originally posted by Kerrylee
So...Is there a higher force of some kind dictating my thoughts? Do we only have the illusion of free will?
One would have to see everybody in a different light...so to speak..if we are making decisions based not entirelly what we think of as our own...we cannot judge another...which I try not to do personally anyways...we are all equal in my eyes anyway...hmmm makes the concept of good and evil to be seen in a diferent way...everything is meant to be???????
Originally posted by Nicolas Flamel
This is not surprising really. Our brain is very complex and helps us make decisions. It uses our past experiences, positive and negative reinforcements learned from our environment and takes the "raw data" and passes information to our conscious mind. We would probably go mad if we consciously had to "think" about how all the neurons and groups of neurons were interacting.
One analogy I can think of is a home computer. When I click on the web link to go to the ATS site, under the covers the CPU is detecting my mouse click, moving data into and out of RAM (memory), the network is communicating with ISP servers, proper graphics are generated etc. It was still my choice to go to the ATS site, but I did not have to think about all the low level nuts and bolts.
Does this mean we have no free will since the underlying "brain" has already done it's work? I don't think so because I don't act on every silly thought that comes into my mind. I also have the perspective of knowledge of the world, morality, religion, cultural norms and past experiences which would filter the brain's suggestions. So I still have a choice on what I can do, even if my brain tells me it wants this or that.
The only reason this experiment worked is that only a very simple choice had to be made, i.e. click the left or right button. If the question was more complex like "Which car should I buy?", I doubt they could predict it.