15-Apr-2017 18:43


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April 12, 1916, Chicago, Illinois – July 23, 2007, Davis, California) was a pioneering scientist in the field of human consciousness.Libet was a researcher in the physiology department of the University of California, San Francisco.On average, approximately two hundred milliseconds elapsed between the first appearance of conscious will to press the button and the act of pressing it.Researchers also analyzed EEG recordings for each trial with respect to the timing of the action.The experiment has caused controversy not only because it challenges the belief in free will, but also due to a criticism of its implicit assumptions.


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In the 1970s, Libet was involved in research into neural activity and sensation thresholds.Pressing the button also recorded the position of the dot on the oscillator, this time electronically.By comparing the marked time of the button's pushing and the subject's conscious decision to act, researchers were able to calculate the total time of the trial from the subject's initial volition through to the resultant action.No limits were placed on the number of times the subject could perform the action within this period.

During the experiment, the subject would be asked to note the position of the dot on the oscilloscope timer when "he/she was first aware of the wish or urge to act" (control tests with Libet's equipment demonstrated a comfortable margin of error of only -50 milliseconds).

To gauge the relation between unconscious readiness potential and subjective feelings of volition and action, Libet required an objective method of marking the subject's conscious experience of the will to perform an action in time, and afterward comparing this information with data recording the brain's electrical activity during the same interval.

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