Unconscious determinants of free decisions in the human brain


There has been a long controversy as to whether subjectively ‘free’ decisions are determined by brain activity ahead of time. We found that the outcome of a decision can be encoded in brain activity of prefrontal and parietal cortex up to 10 s before it enters awareness. This delay presumably reflects the operation of a network of high-level control areas that begin to prepare an upcoming decision long before it enters awareness. Source: Soon, C., Brass, M., Heinze, H. et al. Unconscious determinants of free decisions in the human brain. Nat Neurosci 11, 543–545 (2008).