Discussion Paper Week 3

Discussion Paper Week 3 - Discussion Paper(Ross Avilla We...

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Discussion Paper (Ross Avilla) April 19, 2007 We seem to have a finely tuned system of processes set up to make us feel as if we (our conscious selves) are the willful author of our actions. I found the experiment by Wegner and Wheatley (1999) mentioned in Wegner’s (2003) article the most interesting example of this. It was shown that just the auditory input of the word “swan” followed by an unseen force moving the participants’ mouse cursor toward a swan icon on a computer made participants “believe” that they had willfully moved the cursor on their own. That experiment blew me away, because now not only do our “thoughts” not even have to be in our heads (they can be heard through headphones, apparently), but movement that isn’t even our own is then interpreted as being willfully acted. This seems to go far beyond the findings of Pronin et al. (2006) on “magical thinking”. The idea that your “mental voodoo” might actually cause someone to be
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