The Driving Force Model

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The course of an event can be seen as the result of a chain of causes and effects when we consider things from a deterministic perspective. Yet, when we voluntarily cause an event, we do not consider ourselves as being part of a chain, but rather consider our actions as resulting from volition. Beforehand, assuming the existence of free will can result in at least two possibilities (Hallet, 2007). The first is the ‘‘driving force’’ model where free will actually makes us choose to do a specific action. By contrast, under the ‘‘perception’’ model, we believe that free will is at work under the perception of having freely chosen the action. Experiments have revealed that our actions are initiated by unconscious mental processes prior to our awareness…show more content…
(1983). Participants were seated in front of a clock with a rapidly moving spot and were allowed to move whenever they felt the need to; those movements could be either thoughtfully initiated or spontaneous. After having initiated a movement, they were told to specify the time, W, of their conscious intention to move and the time, M, of being aware of actually moving. Participants were randomly stimulated by a skin stimulus and were also asked to specify its timing, S. Accuracy in records of the latter indicated that the method of timing of subjective experience was acceptable. To determine the timing of the brain activity, EEG was recorded for each participant and movement-related cortical potentials (MRCPs) were measured. W occurred about 200 ms prior to the onset of muscle activity and M occurred about 90 ms prior to EMG onset, thus indicating that the brain initiated the action before participants became aware of their intention to…show more content…
The theory of apparent mental causation (Wegner & Wheatley, 1999) provides a setting within which these problems can be understood. Wegner argues that free will is an illusion derived from the relationship between one’s thought and the movement itself (Wegner, 2003). The thought must occur before the movement, it must be consistent with the movement and there must not be another obvious cause for the movement. These properties imply causality, i.e. the thought led to the movement. Subsequently, illusions of personal causation are likely to follow (despite the effect being caused by another source) since “people interpret their own accessible thought as the cause of the behavioral event, thereby arriving at the deceptive belief that they produced

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