Do We Really Know What We Are Doing? Implications of Reported Time of Decision for Theories of Volition

William P. Banks, Eve A. Isham

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Is the moment of conscious decision (known as W), as timed by Benjamin Libet and colleagues, a measure of volition? This chapter discusses a new experiment showing that the perceived time of response (known as M) is also shifted by the same auditory cue that shifts W. The experiment showed that the strength of the tactile sensation of pressing the response button does not affect the apparent time of response or the auditory cue. A second experiment showed that judgments of another person performing in a Libet task show an effect of the delayed cue on M and W. Two final experiments showed that use of a digital clock gives results quite different from the analog clock most often used in these studies. The chapter argues that many inferences drawn from M and W reported from an analog clock need to be reconsidered. It also discusses implications for theories of volition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationConscious Will and Responsibility
Subtitle of host publicationA Tribute to Benjamin Libet
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199864911
ISBN (Print)9780195381641
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 24 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Analog clock
  • Auditory cue
  • Conscious decision
  • Digital clock
  • Time of response
  • Volition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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