Who makes your decisions?

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I have always been a firm believer that everyone has free will, and that they can choose what they would like on their own accord. Marcus de Sautoy has led me to question this. He underwent a fMRI in a BBC video called "The Secret You" which showed him that they were able to predict his actions up to 6 seconds before he did them. To me, this seems to derail the idea of freewill. If someone else can tell him what he was going to do before he knew (consciously) what he was going to do himself, what could this lead to?
I wonder if someday they will be able to predict things more complex than pushing buttons, and further ahead of time. What do you think? Also, what are the implications of being able to tell someones actions before they even occur? When it comes to being able to predict a button that will be pushed based on brain activity prior to the push of the button (activity image is shown below), it doesn't seem as eerie, but knowing this could someday lead to something more is a scary thought in my opinion. If our minds our made before we even "know" they are, does this mean we don't have free will, but rather a mass of neurons and connections decides what we are going to do for us?


This Oxford Mathematician, Marcus, has really made me think if every action we do is already decided by our brain before we do it, why, then am I so indecisive? I can never pick what to by at the store, what to order on a menu, or what to have for a meal. Regardless, the technology we have today is amazing, and its hard to "determine" what technology we may have in the future, and what more we can find out about consciousness and decision making!


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I think that one day with further technology, people will be able to know what someone will decide with something such as where to eat, since these processes do happen before we realize what answer we want to give. I am a very indecisive person too but I feel like when it comes down to it, we all have an answer in mind, it's just a matter of if we realize it. For instance, picking where you want to eat, if someone asks you "Do you want to eat at Noodle's or Chipotle?" and you respond with "I don't care" and then they choose Noodle's. You can either be okay with it or, as many times I do, say "Actually can we go to Chipotle?". It takes you a little time to realize what you really want deep down and in my opinion I feel like your brain recognizes this but you as a whole do not. I am also very excited to see what technology the future has in store for us!

There is a movie called Minority Report. It is about 3, I believe, human beings that are able to see the future. They, to my best ability to remember, are called precogs and what happens is when someone forms the plan to commit a crime, especially murder, they see it before it happens and then a team of officers go out and stop the person in the act before the action is finished to its fatality. The person convicted of the almost crime is then put into some odd confinement where they basically no longer exist. Essentially, it creates a world where murder is no longer a problem. However, a flaw occurs which, I will not say because it is a spoiler. What I am trying to point out is that while the idea of being able to know what a person is thinking before perhaps they even know they are truly thinking it seems magnificent, there will always be a flaw in human technology and a fine line between the boundaries of our rights. At any given moment someone could have decided to back down from their intent, yet they would not get the chance to do so because they would already be convicted and sentenced to life in confinement without actually doing anything. While it is just a movie, it raises quite some interesting thoughts.

I am an indecisive person too. I always have two or three choices at the end to choose from right from the attire I want to wear to picking a car/choosing college. My brother used to tease me saying that there should be an iPhone app made for me. Trust me, there are lots of app out there to make decisions for you! We were at first surprised but then it also made me happy to know that there many people like me. It would really be interesting to know what could be correlated with indecisive thinking. The research is most likely already done!

This is a topic I think about a lot. When planning for a big event or making a big decision, I always try to figure out the best decision to make and how the outcome will be. During this anxiety and stress is high and I try to tell myself, "You will make the right decision, you just don't know what that is yet." What if we really do already have decisions made in our brains and we just have to find the right time for them to surface? This is something very complicated to think about, and I agree, somewhat scary. The fact that our brains may already be made up for us 6 seconds before we can even realize it ourselves is something that is hard to wrap my head around. It is even harder to realize the concept of someday others being able to know our decisions before we make them.

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This page contains a single entry by lame0090 published on February 26, 2012 11:53 PM.

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