Is Free Will Just a Mind Trick?
Rich Hua stashed this in Psychology
Yes. There's also a healthy dose of random:
Neuroscientists at UC Davis believe that decisions that seem voluntary might really emerge from the constant hum of random electrical firing in the brain, or “background noise,” as described in a study published in the April issue of the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. Certain patterns of background noise seem to occur right before we make a conscious choice. Even when it feels like we’re acting of our own volition, our brains might have already decided on a course of action beforehand — without our even realizing it.
They could predict the students’ decisions based on certain patterns of the brain’s background noise.
Although “purposeful intentions, desires and goals drive our decisions in a linear cause-and-effect kind of way, our finding shows that our decisions are also influenced by neural noise within any given moment,” Jesse Bengson, a postdoctoral researcher at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain and the study’s lead author, told Live Science.