Unconscious Determinants Of Consciousness

Decent Essays
Consciousness is a pivotal element in human existence. According to Max Velmans and Susan Schneider The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness: "Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness”. As important as it is, scientists have trouble in coining the exact definition for consciousness. Even more shockingly, there have been studies that claim human do not make conscious decisions as we have always believed, such as the article Unconscious determinants of free decisions in the human brain published by Nature Publishing Group in 2008, and in the BBC documentary The Secret You by Marcus du Sautoy.
The article addressed the controversy of whether neural activity controlled human’s decision making processes. It mentioned a previous experiment conducted by Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences. In this experiment, participants were asked to press a button as soon as they felt the urge to while their brain activity was recorded. This experiment
…show more content…
They led an experiment in which participants were asked to press a button on their left or right hand whenever they felt the urge to, memorize the letter which appeared at the time they made a decision, then select the letter. On average, people pressed the button 21.6 seconds after a trial began, so there was much time to calculate potential build-up and avoid interference from previous trials. The result reported that 88.6% of the decisions formed 1,000 milliseconds before the gesture.
Secondly, the researchers evaluated how much each brain region contributed to the prediction of motor decision at various time point. By using decoders specialized to predict decisions by picking up neural signals associated with the action. This method helped immensely in answering the questions posed by earlier
Get Access