The debate around free will ebbs and flows with each new study. We certainly like to think that we have the ability to freely make and follow the decisions that we make. Most of the time anyway. We also seem to like blaming anything or anybody other than oursleves when situations start “heading south” as the old saying goes.
When do we make decisions? At what point do we become aware that we’ve made a decision? And at the point at which we realize that we’ve made a decision, have we perhaps made it earlier than we realize.
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany, have demonstrated that portions of the brain iinvolved in our decision-making processes are activated up to seven seconds before we are consciously aware that we have made a decision.
As they are quick to point out – “Our study shows that decisions are unconsciously prepared much longer ahead than previously thought. But we do not know yet where the final decision is made. We need to investigate whether a decision prepared by these brain areas can still be reversed.”
So the jury remains out for the moment, at least in terms of this study. When do I decide? At some point in time.