Archive for the ‘Free Will’ Category

Flexibility of preferences

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The flexibility of chemosensory preferences Geraldine Coppin & David Sander, University of Geneva In:- Neuroscience of Preference and Choice (2012) The authors study preferences relative to odours, flavours and tastes, arguing for some flexibility in preferences over and above genetically determined preferences. Satiety can arise with respect to a food stuff that is initially rated as pleasant. The activity of the orbitofrontal is related to the evaluation of smells and tastes. This Read more […]

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Decision making, determinism and consciousness

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Noise in the brain, decision making, determinism, free will and consciousness Edmund Rolls New Horizons in the Neuroscience of Consciousness – Eds – Elaine Perry, Daniel Collerton, Fiona Le Beau & Heather Ashton In the introduction to his chapter Rolls emphasises that decision making in the brain involves a mix of the reasoning system and the reward system, the latter to a large extent meaning the same thing as our emotional response. Rolls has made an extremely valuable contribution Read more […]

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Memory, attention and decision making

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Memory, Attention & Decision-Making (Chapter 3. Reward and punishment-related learning; emotion and motivation) Edmund Rolls, Oxford University Oxford University Press (2008) The author views the orbitofrontal region of the prefrontal cortex as the most important region for determining the value of rewards or punishers. Objects are first represented in the visual, somatosensory and other areas of the cortex without having any aspect of reward value. This only arises in the orbitofrontal Read more […]

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Eagleman, the orbitofrontal and Libet

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Incognito David Eagleman This book represents a fairly standard exploration of the unconscious aspects of the mind, but in at least two areas it fails to fully explore its subject in the light of the most recent neuroscience. The function of the orbitofrontal region of the brain is presented here in a quasi-Freudian style, in which some automated process in the orbitofrontal represses urges towards various undesirable behaviour, which emerge as soon as the orbitofrontal is compromised.  Read more […]

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Descartes Error

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Descartes Error Antonio Damasio Although Damasio remains within the conventional paradigm, this classic book, published in 1994, kicks away some of the props of the mechanistic ‘brain as classical computer’ orthodoxy, by arguing for the involvement of the emotions and the body in neural processing. In this respect, the book can be considered to have made more of a contribution than Damasio’s later volume ‘The Feeling of What Happens’, also reviewed in our general section, which left Read more […]

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Decision making

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Decision  making in frontal cortex: From single units to fMRISteven W. Kennersley & Philippe N. ToblerIn:- Neural Basis of Motivational and Cognitive ControlThe authors discuss the role of three frontal brain regions, the orbitofrontal, the anterior cingulate and the lateral prefrontal. Although not mentioned as such, the work is interesting in relation to the involvement of subjective conscious experience in determining the decision making discussed here, and its apparent relationship Read more […]

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Will and quantum physics

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Henry Stapp Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley Attention, Intention and Will in Quantum Physics Journal of Consciousness Studies, 6, Nos 8-9, pp. 143-64 http://ingentaconnect.com/journals/browse/imp/jcs Stapp starts by taking the view that the mind/matter problem represents a conflict between classical physics and our own intuitions. In classical physics we have to be automatons, while our intuition tells us that we are in charge of our actions. Read more […]

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Volitional brain

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Benjamin Libet, Anthony Freeman and Keith Sutherland Journal of Consciousness Studies, 6, Nos 8-9, (1999) http://ingentaconnect.com/journals/browse/imp/jcs In Libet’s experiment the subjects were asked to wait for the urge to make a previously specified wrist movement. This was intended to bring the largest possible element of freewill into the experiment. The subjects should want to act and feel they had control over the action. The article points out that their are many human actions Read more […]

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Volition and the readiness potential

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Gilberto Gomes Volition and the Readiness Potential Journal of Consciousness Studies, 6 Nos 8-9, pp. 59-76 http://ingentaconnect.com/journals/browse/imp/jcs Gomes appears to discuss the whole question of free will, from the basic assumption of a deterministic world, qualified by some macroscopic impact from the quantum level. As the latter is random, it is also deemed irrelevant for freewill. He assumes that what he calls the naturalistic view of the physical world means that the mind Read more […]

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Volition and the physical law

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Volition and Physical Laws Jean Burns Journal of Consciousness Studies, 6, No. 10, 1999, pp. 27-47 http://ingentaconnect.com/journals/browse/imp/jcs The author starts by pointing out that the presently known physical laws provide only determinism in classical physics and randomness within quantum physics neither of which can be a basis for freewill or volition. Burns suggests that if such a thing as volition does exist it only acts under certain conditions in the brain, and has only a Read more […]

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