Posts Tagged ‘conscious will’

Marshmallow Test

Posted by

The Marshmallow Test by Walter Mischel Walter Mischel’s work is receiving considerable publicity at the moment. His marshmallow test involved leaving young children, typically about four years old, alone in a room with a marshmallow or other goodie. They were told that if they could resist eating it for 15 or so minutes, they could have two instead of one marshmallow. The progress of these children was checked later as young adults. It was found that those who could defer gratification Read more […]

Will and quantum physics

Posted by

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 […]

Volition and new brain circuitry

Posted by

A Role for Volition and Attention in the Generation of New Brain CircuitryJeffrey SchwartzUCLA Dept. of Psychiatry Journal of Consciousness Studies, 6, No. 8-9, pp. 115-42http://ingentaconnect.com/journals/browse/imp/jcs This paper argues that the exercise of the conscious will can overcome or reduce the problems of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This disorder leads to repetitive behaviour, for example repeated unnecessary hand washing. The patient is aware that their behaviour Read more […]

Social dangers of determinism

Posted by

The Hazards of Claiming to Have Solved the Hard Problem of Free Will Shariff Azim, Jonathan Schooler, Kathleen Vohs In: Are We Free? Psychology and Free Will  Eds.  Baer, J., Kaufman, J. & Baumeister, R. This chapter criticises the methodology of studies by Bargh and others that claim to show behaviour as automatic or determined. This refers to the influence of unconscious priming on behaviour. The authors feel that the behavioural results of experiments by Bargh and others are to Read more […]

Self-control consumes energy

Posted by

Freewill in Scientific Psychology Roy Baumeister, Florida State University Perspectives on Psychological Science, vol. 3, No. 1 (2008) Baumeister argues for the efficacy of freewill. In particular studies show that the processes of both self control and rational choice deplete glucose in the bloodstream, leading to a deterioration in subsequent performance. This can, however, be at least partly restored by the administration of more glucose. It appears unlikely that evolution would have Read more […]

The power of the mental force

Posted by

The Mind and The Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of the Mental Force Jeffrey Schwartz and Sharon Begley Harper Collins (2002) This book discusses clinical practise that suggests that the conscious will can alter habits or compulsions that are driven by flaws in the structure of patients’ brains. It is also suggested that the exercise of the conscious will can mould new structures in the brain to support an altered habituation. The author links this finding to Henry Stapp’s version of Read more […]

Methodology of determinism criticised

Posted by

Reconstrual of “Free Will” from the Agentic Perspective of Social Cognitive Theory Albert Bandura In: Are We Free? Psychology and Free Will Agency involves not only the ability to deliberate, make choices and construct action plans, but also the capacity to carry out the action plans. Agents also reflect on their actions, and make adjustments to their future plans and actions. Humans are not just machines that use a negative feedback to guide themselves back to a state desired by their Read more […]

Making up the mind

Posted by

Chris Frith Chris Frith starts by saying that he will show that the distinction between mental and physical is false. The distinction is claimed to be an illusion created by the brain. Everything we know comes via the brain, but there is no direct connection with the physical world of objects. The first part of the book goes over sometimes familiar ground to show that the brain works on limited and imperfect signals to create a model or picture of the world, and although it is adaptive for Read more […]

Libet’s Mind Time

Posted by

Benjamin Libet In his introductory chapter, Libet admits that his views on subjective phenomena have altered somewhat since he was a young scientist. He says that he started with a full belief in determinsitic materialism, but has come round to the view that the subjective cannot be derived from neuronal function. He now instead highlights the distinction between being clever in the sense of solving complex problems and being conscious. In contrast to many 20th century philosophers and scientists, Read more […]

Libet challenged

Posted by

Anil Ananthaswamy, based on Aaron Schurger at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research France, and on Judy Trevena & Jeff Miller at the University of Otago New Scientist, 11 August 2012 Libet’s experiments have been the cornerstone of the late twentieth century orthodoxy’s refutation of freewill. A minority of critics have argued that these experiments only referred to trivial and predetermined movements, rather than longer term or deliberative decisions that might be involved Read more […]