Springe direkt zu Inhalt

Silvia Seghezzi, Birkbeck University London

Jun 10, 2024 | 04:00 PM

Title: Enriched volition: the neural correlates of voluntary actions


Volition – i.e., the capacity for voluntary action - is a distinctive feature of the human mind and a central focus for investigation in psychology. However, volition is difficult to capture in the experimental setting. Previous studies often focussed on the initiation of arbitrary, inconsequential actions, and struggled to provide convincing methodologies for studying volition. The minimalistic approach inherent in the experimental paradigms adopted by these studies offers only limited insights into the richness and complexity of voluntary actions.

This talk will delve into the nature of voluntary action, presenting recent research findings from fMRI and EEG studies that investigated the brain activity preceding voluntary actions. The traditional unitary concept of voluntary action will be challenged, suggesting a transformative shift in the concept of volition, evolving from a singular, unified notion to the recognition of its multifaceted nature. It will emphasise the need to explore not only the 'what' and 'when' of voluntary actions but also the often-overlooked 'why' that drives them.

Furthermore, it will introduce some recent work on the relationship between voluntary action and memory, showing how memory for actions is impacted by actions that could have been chosen and executed but were not (i.e., counterfactual actions). One interesting interpretation of this result argues that planning a voluntary action is sufficient to encode it in memory, while executing it is not necessary. 

Webex Link: t.b.a