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"In 1965, Hans Kornhuber and Luder Deecke made a discovery that greatly influenced the study of voluntary action. Using electroencephalography (EEG), they showed that when aligning some tens of trials to movement onset and averaging, a slowly decreasing electrical potential emerges over central regions of the brain. It starts 1 second ( s) or so before the onset of the voluntary action1 and continues until shortly after the action begins. They termed this the Bereitschaftspotential, or readiness potential (RP; Kornhuber & Deecke, 1965).2 This became the first well-established neural marker of voluntary action. In that, the RP allowed for more objective research on voluntary action rather than its previous dependence on subjective introspection.

Two decades later, the RP captured the attention of the wider neuroscience community as well as of philosophers, legal scholars, and laypeople. This is because it was associated with a key question in the debate on free will: Is human voluntary action caused by the conscious intention to act? Or does the conscious experience only follow unconscious neural activity, which is the true origin of that action, and over which humans have only-limited immediate control?"



Publication Date



Oxford University Press


New York, NY


Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Biological Psychology | Cognitive Psychology | Experimental Analysis of Behavior | Neurology | Neurosciences | Other Philosophy | Other Psychiatry and Psychology | Other Psychology | Personality and Social Contexts | Philosophy of Mind | Psychological Phenomena and Processes | Theory and Philosophy


In Alfred R. Mele (Eds.), Surrounding Free Will: Philosophy, Psychology, Neuroscience. Dr. Maoz's chapter begins on page 184.


Oxford University Press

On Reporting the Onset of the Intention to Move