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Seeing Is With the Heart


Hillary Sanctuary




What are the brain mechanisms of free will? Explore notions of free will and embodied cognition in this short video inspired by Antoine de St-Exupéry's "Le Petit Prince", based on EPFL's latest research.


What are the brain mechanisms of freewill? freewill can be something like deciding to smell your favorite rose or to watch the sunset. Or perhaps you're thirsty, maybe your mouth is dry. Maybenyou're in a terribly hot desert. Maybe you find a well in the desert. What exactly happens in your brain when you decide to reach for that drink of water? How does your brain come to decisions at all? Scientists in Switzerland are probing the brain mechanisms of freewill.

And they've discovered something astonishing. In past research, they noticed that notions of the self, who you are and of being conscious are anchored in brain signals that come from the body. For example, even though you're unaware of it, your heartbeat helps you to know that your body is your own body, and that the screen in front of you is not an act of free will is a component of self consciousness. So the scientists hypothesize that free will may be anchored in the body as well. What they discovered is that voluntary action is actually anchored in the lungs.

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