Apparent mental causation. Sources of the experience of will

Am Psychol. 1999 Jul;54(7):480-92. doi: 10.1037//0003-066x.54.7.480.

Abstract

The experience of willing an act arises from interpreting one's thought as the cause of the act. Conscious will is thus experienced as a function of the priority, consistency, and exclusivity of the thought about the action. The thought must occur before the action, be consistent with the action, and not be accompanied by other causes. An experiment illustrating the role of priority found that people can arrive at the mistaken belief that they have intentionally caused an action that in fact they were forced to perform when they are simply led to think about the action just before its occurrence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Causality
  • Consciousness*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Volition*