Grey matter matters
Do we act before we think?
I think I think not . . .
“As the evenings get darker and the first hint of winter hangs in the air, the western world enters the season of the dead.” Scared?
If you want to read about ouija boards, seances and automatic writing click this link: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/oct/20/seances-and-science.
If you want to read what is REALLY spooky, read this excerpt from the article:
In the 1960s, neurophysiologist William Grey Walter got volunteers to operate a slide projector while their brain was monitored with electrodes. The participants were told to press a button to change slides. But the button was a fake – the projector was controlled by electrical activity in the brain. The startled volunteers found that the slide machine was predicting their decisions. A fraction of a second before they decided to press the button, the part of the brain responsible for hand movement burst into activity and – through the electrodes – moved the slide on.
Grey Walter showed that there was a fraction of a second delay between the brain making a decision and someone being aware that they were making a decision.
In the 1980s, Benjamin Libert of the University of California , San Francisco, made a similar discovery after attaching volunteers to electrical monitors and sitting them in front of a screen displaying a dot in a circle. The participants were told to flex their wrists whenever they liked, and report the position of the dots at the moment they made the decision to flex. Again, there was a surge in brain activity a fraction of a second before the volunteers were aware they were making a decision.
Wegner’s solution was that our deliberate, thinking brain – the inner me that makes decisions – is an ILLUSION. Instead, the brain does two things when it makes a decision to raise an arm.
- First it passes a message to the part in charge of creating the conscious inner you.
- Second, it delays the signal going to the arm by a fraction of a second.
- This delay generates the illusion that the conscious mind has made a decision.”