Libet: Mental Timing

From: nicholas bollons (
Date: Mon Jan 22 1996 - 13:40:10 GMT

This is only a quick comment on the seminar on Friday when we discussed
the relationship between the potential of firing neurons before the
subject had consciouslly willed it.

Unfortunately my Hypothesis was destroyed the reasoning that to create
this potential, the subject has to predict that he/she is going to
elicit a willing of a response in the first place ie the prediction of
a prediction.

Using the clock analogy there would have to be something starting at 12
0'Clock in order to create the potential at 2 leading to consciouslly
aware of carrying out a task (3 O'Clock) to motor movement at 6

(The fact that neurons fire even before the brain is consciouslly aware
that it is to carry out a task)

But if you see it from the context of the patient being tested in a
controlled environment then they are aware that in a certain time frame
(12 O'Clock AM to 12 O'Clock PM they are going to make somesort of
pre-defined response/movement. A conscious prediction of a pre-defined
outcome may cause the un-conscious prediction (potential of neurons to
fire) before the next conscious process of willing the movement.

The idea of knowing what to do in a certain situation will increase the
speed (by potential neuron firing) to react in that situation.

Not a particularly in-depth explanation to this strange phenomena but
may be a possible one?

What do you think? NIK

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