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Metaphysics & Psychology

Scientific evidence of the lack of free will in humans

Scientific evidence of the lack of free will in humans 1

In the 1980s, American neuroscientists, while studying the possibilities of the brain and human consciousness, came to an unexpected conclusion – a person is completely deprived of free will and makes decisions based on a prepared algorithm. 

Moreover, with the help of special devices you can predict all his thoughts and actions. How do we make decisions? How does consciousness depend on the brain? Is there freedom of thought?

“We conquered matter because we conquered consciousness. Reality is inside the skull.” – George Orwell, British writer.

What is free will? This is a person’s ability to make informed choices and make informed actions in a given situation. For centuries, scientists and philosophers have tried to find the answer, what is consciousness and how is it interconnected with the brain and body? As it turned out, consciousness in the body plays a secondary role.

So, in 1983, a group of American scientists led by Benjamin Libet conducted an interesting experiment.

A participant in the experiment observed a green dot moving along the dial of an oscilloscope and had to remember its location when he moved his finger or bent his wrist. In the second case, the subject had to plan these actions, but not to perform them.

To fix the exact time of brain arousal and subsequent contraction of the arm muscles, the researchers brought special medical devices to the subject’s head and arms.

As a result, Libet received three indicators: the time when the subject decided to perform an action (the position of the green dot), the time when the brain reacted to it, and the time when the arm finally moved.

According to the logic of things, first a person decides to move his finger, after which the brain enters the work, which gives the command to the hand to do the will of the owner.

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0 - rest, 1 (−500 ms) - measurement of the readiness potential, 2 (−200 ms) - the subject makes a decision, 3 (0 ms) - action
0 – rest, 1 (−500 ms) – measurement of the readiness potential,
2 (−200 ms) – the subject makes a decision,
3 (0 ms) – action

In fact, it turned out that the brain was first activated. It was there that the decision was made to move a finger. After 0.5 seconds, this decision reached the consciousness of a person (at this time he noted the position of the green dot), and after another 0.2 seconds, the muscles of the arm contracted.

Thus, the experiment showed that the brain is ahead of consciousness by half a second and affects the decisions of consciousness. That is, a person does not have power over his own behavior. Theoretically, he has 0.2 seconds to veto the decision made by the brain, but, in practice, this time is not enough to think about the situation.

Amazing incredible

After Benjamin Libet, brain experiments continued. So, at the Max Planck Institute of Cognitive Psychology and Neurophysiology in Leipzig, researchers were able to calculate the time of the origin of thought in the brain, before it reaches consciousness. It turned out that the brain accepts and processes thought 7 seconds before it regains consciousness. That is, noting the activity of the subject’s brain, scientists learned 7 seconds earlier what a person would think about now and knew exactly when he would make the movement.

Scientific evidence of the lack of free will in humans 2

Hence the conclusion, if someone can predict the decisions and actions of a person in advance, then free will simply does not exist.

However, that is not all. In 1999, Sino-American neuroscientist Yang Dan proved that the brain works no different from the computer, and if you calculate the encoding of the human brain, you can easily read all the information that appears there.

This time an experiment was conducted on a cat. The researcher fixed it on the table, picked up electrodes to his head and showed the animal various images. The picture that appears in the head of a cat was transmitted to a computer in the form of electrical impulses. There, the pulses were again converted into an image. The computer painted what the animal saw.

Knowing how the brain of a particular person works and, having the opportunity to pick up a key to it, you can record his thoughts, memories, read out his character and personality as a whole.

It turns out that not only is a person not the master of his own body (all decisions are made by the brain – a biological computer), it can still be read like an open book.

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