By: Mya Williams
Aim: to investigate the origin of free will
Procedure: First the location of lesions in 28 people with impaired volition and 50 people with impaired since of agency was mapped. Then they looked at which regions in the brain the damaged locations communicate with (referred to a connectivity map). After researchers looked at the brain images of people psychiatric disorders that have been associated with disorders of free will, this time looking for any brain regions where there was reduced brain function.
Results: The researchers found that in both disorders (volition and agency) lesions were scattered but all connected to a single brain network. In the participants with volition disorder the lesions connected to the anterior cingulate cortex, a part of the brain associated with motivation planning and control of voluntary movement. In patients with agency disorder the lesions connected with a brain network defined by functional connectivity to the precuneus cortex which had been shown to play a role in agency.
Analysis: The study shows relationships to volition and agency but does not conclude to the idea that people have free will. I think that free will is something that people feel and it’s a sort of motivation. If people feel that they don’t have free will it’s not due to some brain network specifically.