Is freewill a happy illusion?

Is freewill a happy illusion? – Is freewill real or is just one of our happy illusions? According to a post on 3quarks, it might be that believing in freewill makes your brain behave as if you actually have it. “When people’s belief in freewill was experimentally reduced [not sure how that’s done], pre-conscious motor preparation, or that activity that precedes action, in the brain was delayed by more than one second relative to those who believed in freewill – an eternity in brain time.” That’s plenty of time for “conscious” choices to be made, choices that one might call freewill, whether one believes in it or not.

6 thoughts on “Is freewill a happy illusion?”

  1. there is research where belief in free will is not a factor. Measured emotional reaction to pictures before they appear and before a computer has selected them demonstrates something beyond what thinking has anything to do with…how does that relate to free will? Subjects are not picked from some special intuitive or psychic pool…just regular people.

  2. Wegner summarizes what he believes is empirical evidence supporting the view that human perception of conscious control is an illusion. Wegner summarizes some empirical evidence that may suggest that the perception of conscious control is open to modification (or even manipulation). Wegner observes that one event is inferred to have caused a second event when two requirements are met:
    These words are not mine. I request your interpretation.

  3. It was discovered years back that the brain gets ready to carry out an action you think you’re choosing to do before you’re actually aware you’ve “chosen” to do it. Fraction of a second. That’s the readiness potential argument against freewill, as I understand it.

    The new study concludes: “Our results showed that the readiness potential was reduced in individuals induced to disbelieve in free will. This effect was evident more than 1 s before participants consciously decided to move, a finding that suggests that the manipulation influenced intentional actions at preconscious stages. Our findings indicate that abstract belief systems might have a much more fundamental effect than previously thought.”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21515737

    I don’t think they’re implying that you’re switched off during that second delay it’s just that conscious awareness lags by that length of time from actual action…

  4. Is this suggesting that those whose belief in free will was lower spent the time reconstructing and revitalising their belief in their own free will and then making decisions – or something along those lines?

    Otherwise what did these non-free-willers do with the extra second – just turn off?

    Don’t understand.

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