The Illusion Of Free Choice

The Illusion Of Free Choice

Research adds to evidence suggesting 'even our most seemingly ironclad beliefs about our own agency and conscious experience can be dead wrong'
Free will might be an illusion created by our brains, scientists might have proved.
Humans are convinced that they make conscious choices as they live their lives. But instead it may be that the brain just convinces itself that it made a free choice from the available options after the decision is made.
The idea was tested out by tricking subjects into believing that they had made a choice before the consequences of that choice could actually be seen. In the test, people were made to believe that they had taken a decision using free will – even though that was impossible.
The idea that human beings trick themselves into believing in free will was laid out in a paper by psychologists Dan Wegner and Thalia Wheatley nearly 20 years ago. They proposed the feeling of wanting to do something was real, but there may be no connection between the feeling and actually doing it.
The new study builds on that work and says that the brain rewrites history when it makes its choices, changing our memories so that we believe we wanted to do something before it happened.
In one of the studies undertaken by Adam Bear and Paul Bloom, of Yale University, the test subjects were shown five white circles on a computer monitor. They were told to choose one of the circles before one of them lit up red.
The participants were then asked to describe whether they’d picked the correct circle, another one, or if they hadn’t had time to actually pick one.
Statistically, people should have picked the right circle about one out of every five times. But they reported getting it right much more than 20 per cent of the time, going over 30 per cent if the circle turned red very quickly.
The scientists suggest that the findings show that the test subjects’ minds were swapping around the order of events, so that it appeared that they had chosen the right circle – even if they hadn’t actually had time to do so.

The idea of free will may have arisen because it is a useful thing to have, giving people a feeling of control over their lives and allowing for people to be punished for wrongdoing.
But that same feeling can go awry, the scientists wrote in the Scientific American magazine. It may be important for people to feel they are control of their lives, for instance, but distortions in that same process might make people feel that they have control over external processes like the weather.
The scientists cautioned that the illusion of choice might only apply to choices that are made quickly and without too much thought. But it might also be “pervasive and ubiquitous — governing all aspects of our behavior, from our most minute to our most important decisions”.
“Whatever the case may be,” they write, “our studies add to a growing body of work suggesting that even our most seemingly ironclad beliefs about our own agency and conscious experience can be dead wrong.”
The work is published in the journal Psychological Science.
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 The article was posted by: Andrew Griffin
 Original title: Free will could all be an illusion

10 comentários:

Eliana Silva disse...

Isso quer dizer que nosso cérebro está nos traindo? Não segue nossos desejos???

Nadir disse...

Acredito sim que somos responsáveis pelas nossas escolhas na vida e que temos que arcar com as consequências – boas ou ruins. Como saber de antemão?

Carmen disse...

Artigo interessante, mas de difícil entendimento; mais voltado para quem estuda psicologia. Mas, vale a pena a leitura.

Amanda Muller Garcia disse...

Ou seja, o destino já está traçado independentemente de nossas escolhas. Sendo assim, deixa-nos mais à vontade para não nos sentirmos culpados se errarmos. Hahahaha

Caio Blanco disse...

According to the article, I learned that premonition doesn’t exist. “Whatever will be, will be” as sung by Doris Day. Oops!!! Now you know that I’m an old man!

Nubia Oliveira disse...

Não concordo totalmente com o resultado desses estudos; existe o livre arbítrio, mas também existe o destino. Mas, me interessei pelo assunto. Vou pesquisar....

Bruna disse...

Somos os únicos responsáveis por nossas atitudes e pelos caminhos que resolvemos seguir e, sendo assim, temos total controle sobre nossas vidas.

Salma Medina disse...

Excelente artigo! Sou psicóloga e estou conduzindo experiências nesse sentido – O poder da mente. Adorei!!!

Thaise Santos disse...

Na minha opinião, temos sim, controle sobre nossas vidas, mas só sobre nossas vidas, sempre levando em consideração as “conspirações” do Universo.

Nestor Martins disse...

Ainda não conseguimos fazer o uso total de nosso cérebro - muitos estudos ainda estão por vir e muitas coisas ainda serão descobertas. O céu é o limite.

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