Is free will just an illusion? For decades, a signal from the brain called the “readiness potential” has been interpreted to mean that free will may be an illusion. Backed by signals from the brain and lungs, EPFL scientists have discovered that the readiness potential is in fact coupled to breathing and that acts of free will happen as you exhale – providing an unexpected perspective on free will.
Have you ever gone ahead and eaten that piece of chocolate, despite yourself? Do you inadvertently make decisions because you are hungry or cold? In other words, does the brain’s processing of internal bodily signals interfere with your ability to act freely? This line of thinking is at the heart of research that questions our ability to act on thoughts of free will.