“Free Will and Free Wont: Motor activity in the brain precedes our awareness of the intention to move, so how is it that we perceive control?”
By: Sukhvinder S. Obhi and Patrick Haggard
PSYC 370.01 INTRODUCTION TO BIOPSYCHOLOGY
Department of Psychology
Fayetteville State University
April 1, 2015
Are our lives predetermined from birth or are we able to control our actions and in the end our fate? That is one of the questions that researchers have been debating amongst themselves for decades. However, to understand “free will” we must first know a little about what we are trying to determine. If we are to defined the term “free will,” it is the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one's own discretion. (Obhi & Haggard, 2004). Therefore, this definition is stating that we make every choice voluntarily; however, do humans actually have the ability to make choices willingly? According to the article “Free Will and Free Wont: Motor activity in the brain precedes our awareness of the intention to move, so how is it that we perceive control?” “Evidence is presented to show that although people are aware of their actions, the body responds quickly to the information that the brain sends, before we are fully aware of the action.” (Obhi & Haggard, 2004). This means that humans may not be able to make choices freely; that every movements may be predetermined for us. Granted, that our brain sends signals to our brain; however, some researchers argue that we have the potential to override such signals, and at the end still make our own choice. Therefore, showing free will at the end. In the article “Free will and Free won’t,” Sukhvinder S. Obhi and Patrick Haggard don’t fully take a determinist view or criticize determinist all together; however, they looked at determinism with an open mind and drew their own conclusion about “free will,” and determinism. Therefore, it allows one to draw their own conclusion from the evidence provided in this article and other articles.
As mention prior, Sukhvinder S. Obhi and Patrick Haggard state that humans may not have the ability to make choices; that every movements may be predetermined for us, because our brain is sending signals to the body well before one is fully aware of their own actions. (Obhi & Haggard, 2004). The brain in fact influences our decision making, and tell us how to respond before we react. According to, Erika Torres and David Fajardo-Chica (2013), free will is an illusion, and that our subjective feeling of freedom is created by some aspects of our consciousness, (p.519-522). Basically, they are stating that we believe that we have the freedom to make decisions on our own or choose how to respond to certain situations, but in reality we do not have the ability to make our own decision. As previously stated prior, our brain makes our decision seconds before we react; therefore, if we are in danger, our brain is sending signals to our body to either fight or flight. Therefore, when our decisions reach our consciousness, we believe that we are thinking freely. (Torres & Fajardo-Chica 2013, p.519-522). In the article, “Free Will and Free Wont: Motor activity in the brain precedes our awareness of the intention to move, so how is it that we perceive control?” Sukhvinder S. Obhi and Patrick Haggard talks about patients with and Alien Hand Syndrome, and how they believe they have control over their movements, but actually they are not aware of what they are going to do until the action has been made. (Obhi & Haggard, 2004). Lack of control also rises in patients with schizophrenia. Patients with schizophrenia are also not aware of their movements until they have made the movements, just like patients with Alien hand Syndrome. Some researchers believe the reason for their lack of awareness might be the problems in the “forward model”. “Their brain compares a real movement with a model so, as long as the predictions and the action is