Does ‘free will’ stem from brain noise? — ScienceDaily

Does ‘free will’ stem from brain noise? — ScienceDaily.

via Does ‘free will’ stem from brain noise? — ScienceDaily.


Spontaneous Neural Fluctuations Predict Decisions to Attend


Jesse J. Bengson, Todd A. Kelley, Xiaoke Zhang, Jane-Ling Wang, and George R. Mangun

University of California, Davis

Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience


Early Access

Posted Online April 16, 2014.


PDF (521 KB)| PDF Plus (424 KB)

Ongoing variability in neural signaling is an intrinsic property of the brain. Often this variability is considered to be noise and ignored. However, an alternative view is that this variability is fundamental to perception and cognition and may be particularly important in decision-making. Here, we show that a momentary measure of occipital alpha-band power (8–13 Hz) predicts choices about where human participants will focus spatial attention on a trial-by-trial basis. This finding provides evidence for a mechanistic account of decision-making by demonstrating that ongoing neural activity biases voluntary decisions about where to attend within a given moment.