Health News

Scientists will see decisions before they are aware

Scientists sometimes decisions before the people know this, the magazine IFLScience and reported: In a study participants between two Patterns selected, and the study conductor using the images on a functional magnetic resonance imaging to predict which one would you choose.

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)is an imaging procedure, the activated areas of the brain can be represented with high spatial resolution. We see which brain waves are active – Decisions run in front of the consciousness by an unconscious „Stand-By Modus“.

Brain activity with imaging techniques, to demonstrate. (Image: picture-waterfall/

Vertically or horizontally

Professor Joel Pearson from the Univerity of New South Wales asked a group of Volunteers, a either a pattern of horizontal or vertical colored lines. He chose this pattern, because the orientation to vertical / horizontal-specific responses in the visual Cortex.

Limited Time

If the subjects decided which pattern you would imagine, they pressed a button. Later, they pressed other buttons, to indicate how much of the image in your head. Pearson verified the time of the decision, in order to ensure that the Participants delayed the time before you pressed the button. In the majority of cases, Pearson’s Team knew the outcome in advance.

Up to 11 seconds before

The pattern showed in the imaging process, up to 11 seconds before subjects made a conscious decision. This suggests that the brains were predisposed to one orientation or another, before the Participants knew it.

There is no free will?

Pearson criticized to IFLScience, however, reports in the media, the shorter his study so that they have documentary evidence, there would be no free will. He refuses to accept it. Although the predisposition in the Unconscious agreed in more than 50% of the cases with the later conscious decision, but not always. There is no free will, would have to be in the Match at 100%.


Pearson sees the result as evidence of Priming. He says, according to IFLScience: „If I say, imagine a Bank before, then you may be thinking of a place where you deponierst your money. But if I take a picture with the water to show you, then you think of a „river bank“ (Riverside).“ Something similar happened probably in his Experiment, the fMRI to show this Priming of Patterns, certain regions of the brain formed.

Free will or not?

The question of whether there is free will, not today employs only philosophers and priests, but also the brain research. John-Dylan Haynes and his Team from the Max-Planck-Institute for human cognitive and brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany in 2008 came to the conclusion that the corresponding brain regions were already active before the subjects believed to make a conscious decision. You were able to get the result &#8211 predict; however, only in 60 % of cases.

How can decisions

Impending decisions in the brain metabolic processes. Haynes uses a nuclear spin tomography that showed which regions of the brain as much oxygen is consumed. The active parts of the brain consume more oxygen.

What is Pearson’s hopes of his study?

The team of researchers, the aim was not to prove whether there is free will or not. Rather, they hope the results can help to understand that post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) better. People who are exposed to this consequence of a trauma, reporting a total loss of control, both with regard to the strength as well as the content of its internal representation.

Images that can’t be stopped

The Affected are helpless exposed to nightmares and the like in a continuous loop, you are looking for horror pictures, associated with the stress response flight or fight, as soon as a lens is not harmless trigger is activated, the imagery associated with the traumatic event: When men get out of the car, is the war back.

How could help the findings against PTSD?

In the case of post-traumatic syndrome is believed to be disturbed in the process between Priming and conscious decisions. The stored images of Horror run through a Filter in which you to the Situation to be adjusted, but to get the Affected with full force. May the study to explore an approach, at what point in this process tilts, and how the Priming can be applied to the images of the trauma change. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)