If people are told that free will doesn’t exist, their brains might follow suit.
A test of people who read passages discrediting the notion of free will found an immediate decrease in brain activity related to voluntary action. The findings are just one data point in ongoing scientific investigation of a millennia-old philosophical conundrum, but they raise an intriguing possibility.
“Our results indicate that beliefs about free will can change brain processes related to a very basic motor level,” wrote researchers led by psychologist Davide Rigoni of Italy’s University of Padova in a study published in May’s Psychological Science.
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