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PhD defense: Mikkel Vinding

CFIN researcher Mikkel Vinding will defend his PhD thesis: Investigating Free Will in Cognitive Neuroscience.

Info about event


Wednesday 9 March 2016,  at 14:00 - 17:00


K-Auditorium, Aarhus University Hospital, Nørrebrogade, Building 7 (basement)


Do we have free will? This might seem like a simple yes-or-no question, but it involves several questions that need to be answered and some of the most puzzling philosophical problems. The topic of my dissertation is how the questions about free will can and should be investigated within the field of cognitive neuroscience.

In a preliminary discussion I argue the problems and prospects of a neuroscientific approach to free will, and argue that free will should be treated as a topic about the processes involved in volition.

Based on a critical review of existing “free will” experiments and the limitation of their approach, I present three experiments. Based on a conceptual distinction between proximal intentions and delayed intentions, we demonstrate that different types of intention are associated with differences in the neural signals preceding movements, and difference in the experience of the action itself.

This gives a demonstration of a new perspective on free will in cognitive neuroscience, that not just asks the same old yes-no I started this abstract with, but should aim to unravel the many different processes involved in volition.