Poster F23, Tuesday, March 27, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
Freewill and the Self: A Transcranial Magentic Stimulation Study of Libet's Postulate
Julian Paul Keenan1, Olivia Tarrio1, Briana Goncalves1, Saeed Yasin1, Heather Soder2; 1Montclair State University, 2University of Texas
Libet suggested that intention of movement-related tasks originate in the sub-cortical motor areas and that the frontal cortex only engages after intentionality has been established. The frontal regions establish a narrative for the intentionality which is not possible. In other words intentionality originates in sub-cortical motor regions and higher cortical regions remain agnostic until far into the 'decision' making process. Here we employed a non-motor, cognitive task demonstrating that free will can be manipulated. Inhibitory TMS was delivered to right and left Motor Cortex (MC) during a simple forced-choice picture preference task. Following right MC TMS, participants were more likely to prefer right sided images, and vice-versa following left MC TMS. Importantly, questioning during the task revealed that participants were willing to provide rational explanations for their choices with confidence. These data imply that notions of Libet's theory can be applied to higher-order decisions rather than simple motor intentional tasks. We hypothesize that the majority of the self is constructed in this manner and that the ease at which we mis-attribute intention supports the argument that free will is an illusion.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Self perception