The feeling of free will

The feeling of free will may be an illusion. 

Our brain can subconsciously predict an outcome of a decision before we are aware we are making one. Yet, we often believe that we consciously drove our own actions.

@jasonz17

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Problem Solving

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One study revealed that two parts of the brain – the frontopolar cortex and the precuneus - showed activity that predicted the choices of volunteers 7 seconds before the subjects were consciously aware of their decisions. 

It suggests that our choices have already been influenced before we become aware of the decision.

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RELATED IDEAS

Most decision-making errors boil down to:

  • logical fallacies (over-generalizations, comparing apples and oranges, circular thinking)
  • limiting beliefs (underestimations of what's possible)
  • judgment biases (valuing certain factors above others).

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IDEAS

We can remain in stage 4 - similar to a coma or brain death - for only about 30 minutes before the brain wakes up and falls back to sleep again. 

Even healthy sleepers wake several times a night, but might not be aware of it.

Make Better Choices
  • Seek good information. Be skeptic and never just assume that what you’re being told is always true.
  • Avoid common pitfalls, like making decisions without enough time or information.
  • Look at previous mistakes so you learn from them.
  • Check in with yourself and ensure that the environment isn’t influencing your decisions unnecessarily. 
  • Take care of yourself. You are unlikely to make the best decisions when tired or unwell.
  • Make time to think. The multitasking and distraction deluge to which we’re subjected every day can undermine good decision-making.
  • Analyze well. Not getting the outcome you wanted doesn’t necessarily mean the decision was bad. 

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