Neuroscience of agency

By Jason LimAdam Bear, writing on the MIND Guest Blog of Scientific American, describes how the mind can purposefully “rewrite history, fooling us into thinking that this choice ― that was actually completed after its consequences were subconsciously perceived ― was a choice that we had made all along.” In other words, we make a choice based on some subconscious decision-making process but believe that we had actually made the same choice based on some conscious, intentional reasoning.Bear, and his partner, Paul Bloom, are building on the work by psychologists Dan Wegner and Thalia Wheatly who proposed 20 years ago that, “the experience of intentionally willing an action is often nothing more than a post hoc causal inference that our thoughts caused some behavior. The feeling itself, however, plays no…

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