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Conscious Will and ResponsibilityA Tribute to Benjamin Libet$
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Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Lynn Nadel

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195381641

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195381641.001.0001

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Do We Really Know What We Are Doing? Implications of Reported Time of Decision for Theories of Volition

Do We Really Know What We Are Doing? Implications of Reported Time of Decision for Theories of Volition

Chapter:
(p.47) Chapter 5 Do We Really Know What We Are Doing? Implications of Reported Time of Decision for Theories of Volition
Source:
Conscious Will and Responsibility
Author(s):

William P. Banks

Eve A. Isham

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195381641.003.0006

Is the moment of conscious decision (known as W), as timed by Benjamin Libet and colleagues, a measure of volition? This chapter discusses a new experiment showing that the perceived time of response (known as M) is also shifted by the same auditory cue that shifts W. The experiment showed that the strength of the tactile sensation of pressing the response button does not affect the apparent time of response or the auditory cue. A second experiment showed that judgments of another person performing in a Libet task show an effect of the delayed cue on M and W. Two final experiments showed that use of a digital clock gives results quite different from the analog clock most often used in these studies. The chapter argues that many inferences drawn from M and W reported from an analog clock need to be reconsidered. It also discusses implications for theories of volition.

Keywords:   conscious decision, volition, time of response, auditory cue, digital clock, analog clock

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