Brain and Values: Is a Biological Science of Values Possible

By Karl H. Pribram | Go to book overview

15
Readiness For Action

by Lüder Deecke and Wilfried Lang University Clinic of Neurology, Währinger Gürtel 18-20, A-1090 Vienna, Austria


Abstract

Readiness for action is expressed in the brain by means of a slow negative DC-potential which is a preparatory facilitation process (synaptic drive) over certain cortical areas that will be involved in the intended volitional act. This 'volition-related potential' has been termed Bereitschaftspotential (BP) or readiness potential ( Kornhuber & Deecke 1964, 1965). The importance of the availability of the BP is the possibility of making philosophical values such as volition or will accessible to neurophysiological experimentation. As an important result of such research, we postulated from our studies that the supplementary motor area (SMA) participates in the preparation of willful, self- initiated action ( Deecke & Kornhuber, 1978). By now this postulate that a certain brain potential is generated in a certain brain area has long been confirmed. The BP or more precisely its early component BPI was found to be generated by the SMA. Our notion of two components of the BP, the bilaterally-symmetrical BP1 (1.5 to 0.5 sec prior to the onset of voluntary action) and the asymmetrical, i.e. contralaterally dominant BP2 (0,5 to 0 sec prior to movement onset) was as well confirmed by other groups. Our 1978 publication appeared in the same year as Lassen, Ingvar & Skinhoj ( 1978), who found that not only the primary motor area (NU) but also SMA showed increased rCBF (regional cerebral blood flow) in conjunction with hand movements. With the rCBF method - the subjects are continuously making movements (similar as with the emission CTs or FMRI) - one cannot distinguish whether the SMA is activated before, during or after the movement. The BP, being an entirely pre-movement phenomenon proofs that the SMA activation starts already prior to the onset of voluntary action. The BP amplitude is a function of psychological values such as level of motivation, strength if imagination, intentional engagement, directed attention, inertial as well as emotional load, proactive interference, etc. Using magnetoencephalography (MEG), 3 principal generators of the Bereitschaftsfeld (BF) or readiness field (RF) preceding unilateral movement can be distinguished: (1) the supplementary motor area (SMA) for BF1, (2) the contralateral motor cortex (MI) for BF2 and (3) the ipsilateral MI ( Lang, Cheyne, Kristeva, Beisteiner, Lindinger & Deecke 1991). According to recent evidence the cingulate motor area (CMA) may also be involved in BPI generation. Philosophy of volition had some tradition in the past, at present will is not particularly 'in'. It is hoped that experimental access by natural sciences tools may change the present neglect. Present day philosophy mostly deals with 'retrorolandic matters' (perception, cognition, etc.) but it is important to focus more interest on 'prerolandic' matters, such as motor, motivation, volition, will, planning, providence, precaution, emotionally-engaged anticipation of action, cortically monitored vs. automatic (subconscious) actions, etc.

-381-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Brain and Values: Is a Biological Science of Values Possible
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 568

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.