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Chris Weige (M)
Austin, US
Immortal since Dec 23, 2007
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    Hold on a sec
    The time it takes for sensory input to travel along nerves and get processed by the brains means we're always living in the past. Okay, no problem — we can live with a few lost milliseconds. But ten seconds? A new study shows that once our brains make a decision (like "push this button") it takes that long for our conscious minds to become aware of it.

    Neuroscientists at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Germany conducted the study, and appear concerned that people will feel robbed of their free will. Interesting, but the real question is: Once brain-computer interfaces are developed for the masses, are we going to need the plodding "consciousness" part of our brains at all?

    Source: Nature Neuroscience, via Science Blog

    hat tip @weevil

    Seems a little long to me. Anyone buy it?

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    sjef     Mon, May 5, 2008  Permanent link
    "Once brain-computer interfaces are developed for the masses, are we going to need the plodding "consciousness" part of our brains at all?"

    Unless you want to be some kind of dumb terminal or router I would think so. Well maybe not to process & store sensory input, but how else would you be able to experience it?

    As for the claims of the article, seeing as they say up to 10 seconds I don't have any problems with believing it. I think it only probably applies to certain types of decisions, say getting off the couch to get food. There's no way it can be true for every decision you make, you can't decide 7 seconds up front to hit the brakes & not run someone over for example.

    Also, from the article:
    "Our study shows that decisions are unconsciously prepared much longer ahead than previously thought. But we do not know yet where the final decision is made. We need to investigate whether a decision prepared by these brain areas can still be reversed."

    So you still may be able to backtrack on your subconscious anyway.
    aeonbeat     Thu, May 8, 2008  Permanent link
    maybe here comes synchronism, being totally sucked into the process, being in the zone, with the flow, no matter what you're onto, as long as you're inspired, you're an artist, rearanging the matter. suddenly you throw a look at the clock and it's 17:17, oh, well, seems this time i'm right on it!

    and it doesn't matter if something fucks up and the final result is lost, like it just happened, so i had to repost...
    Reckon     Thu, May 15, 2008  Permanent link
    Thanks for the comments.

    sjef: Yes, it says up to 10 seconds. The up to didn't worry me so much. The 10 seconds did, and was thought provoking as an aside. I always take these kinds of reports with a grain of salt anyway. It's good entertainment.

    gouranga: Completely agree. Nothing better. sjef actually has a great quote on his page from Bucky Fuller regarding rearrangements in creation/evolution.
    aeonbeat     Fri, May 16, 2008  Permanent link
    I think it's 7 seconds, not 10, but it doesn't matter... how long time needs for feelings and emotions then
    meika     Fri, May 16, 2008  Permanent link
    I know some mornings I decide to get out of bed and half an hour later I am still sure I decided to get out of bed but haven't got round to it yet...