Home > free will, neuroethics > Mark Hallett – The Physiology of Voluntary Movement and Implications for the Free Will Debate

Mark Hallett – The Physiology of Voluntary Movement and Implications for the Free Will Debate

October 27, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

Le réseau neuroéthique de Montréal
The Montréal Neuroethics Network


Mark Hallett, MD (National Institutes of Health, United States)
Tuesday, November 11th, 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Mardi le 11 novembre, 12:00 – 13:00 h

“The Physiology of Voluntary Movement and Implications for the Free Will Debate”


Free will is a perception that people have that they choose to make (most of) their movements. This perception includes both a sense of willing the movement and self-agency that their act of willing was responsible for the movement that was made. Intrinsic to the perception of willing is the sense that the willing itself drives the movement. Perceptions are purely passive. One question is whether there is any evidence for a “free will force” that plays a role in movement selection. The basic challenge to a relevant free will force is the experiment of Libet et al. (1983) that showed EEG activity well before the time of perception of willing (called W). A series of other experiments, less reliant on subjective and retrospective perceptions confirm this result. Moreover, the timing of W can be influenced by events, such as TMS, after the movement is made. The probable explanation of this is that perceptions must occur after physical events in the real world—consciousness is in the past. Evidence from neuroimaging and brain stimulation studies reveal that the sense of willing likely arises from regions in the brain including the temporoparietal junction area and supplementary motor area. Neuroimaging and brain stimulation studies have also been done investigating the sense of agency and similar regions appear relevant. Physiological studies of movement generation give a fairly clear account of how movement is produced, and a free will force has not been identified nor does it seem necessary. Much of what the brain does is unconscious and only some of its activity becomes passively experienced in consciousness. The brain event underlying the sense of willing is not a driving force. However, free will might be considered to exist if a person’s brain is functioning normally without coercion.
Room/Salle André-Barbeau, Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM)
110 Avenue des Pins Ouest
Pease see attached poster for details.
Veuillez consulter les affiches ci-jointes pour de plus amples renseignements.
All are welcome but please note that there is a required reading for this seminar and limited spaces. Please RSVP by November 10th at veljko.dubljevic@ircm.qc.ca to receive the readings.

Tous sont les bienvenus mais veuillez noter qu’il y a des lectures obligatoires pour ce séminaire ainsi qu’un nombre de places limité. SVP réservez d’ici le 10 novembre auprès veljko.dubljevic@ircm.qc.ca afin de vous inscrire et de recevoir les articles à lire.

The Montreal Neuroethics Network promotes neuroethics training, education and dialogue by exposing various audiences to neuroethics issues; fostering collaboration and mutual learning; and ensure Montreal’s leadership in addressing ethical and social issues in neuroscience and healthcare delivery through inter-institutional collaborations.
For additional information, please contact Dr. Eric Racine at: Neuroethics Research Unit
Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal
Tel: +1 514 987-5723
Email: neuroethics@ircm.qc.ca

Le Réseau neuroéthique de Montréal promeut la formation, l’éducation et le dialogue neuroéthiques en exposant divers publics aux enjeux neuroéthiques; en facilitant les collaborations et les apprentissages mutuels afin de développer le leadership à Montréal pour aborder les questions éthiques et sociales associées aux neurosciences et aux soins de santé dans un contexte de collaboration interinstitutionnelle.

Pour de plus amples renseignements, veuillez communiquer avec Éric Racine
Unité de recherche en neuroéthique
Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal
Tél. : +1 514 987-5723
Courriel : neuroethics@ircm.qc.ca

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