Can Neuroscience Predict One's Fate

Destiney Melero

Background

The definition of Neuroscience according to MerriamWebster is the scientific study of nerves and especially of how nerves affect learning and behavior. The meaning of one’s fate is what they are destined to do. So the question is can neuroscience, or studying a person's nerves and brain, show ones fate, and do we have our own free will or are our actions determined in advance?

Research

The Erik Sorto Research

When people who loose their limbs, they can get surgical implants. The surgical implants are electrodes that hook up nerves in the limbs to the motor cortex in the brain. By bypassing the spinal cord injury site, the electrodes can create movement. But most of this movement is shaky, and jerky and doesn't quite go as fast and as smooth as a normal hand would. If the patient would want to grab something they'd have to concentrate on the little movements their hands and fingers would have to make. So researchers tried something different on Erik Sorto. Erik Sorto had not been able to use his arms or legs after an accident that severed his spinal chord a little over 12 years ago. So instead of hooking up electrodes to the motor cortex, they choose another part of his brain, the posterior parietal cortex. The posterior parietal is involved in the planning of movements, and much of this is unconscious. So after a little research about how they could make the posterior parietal work with Erik's hand, they implanted electrodes in Soto's posterior parietal. When they implanted this into his brain they found that they could predict movements before he actually made them, and once the brain signals doing the predicting were known, they could be used to smoothly move his limbs. So overall the electrode was helping him unconsciously decide to move his arms, hands and fingers.

The Benjamin Libet Research

In the early 1980s Benjamin Libet (University of California) used electroencephalography to record the brain activity of volunteers who had been told to make a spontaneous movement. The volunteers were asked to read a timer at the moment they were aware of the urge to act. Libet found there was a 200 millisecond delay on average between this urge and movement. The electroencephalography also revealed a signal that appeared in the brain earlier than that- 500 milliseconds on average before the action. This suggests that the brain prepares to act well before we are conscious of the urge to move.

Conclusion

I have provided things that can suggest that neuroscience can predict our fate or freewill. And I think I can conclude that the brain can predict what we are might do next, but I think our lives are much to long and our there is so much happening around us that right at this moment neuroscience could not predict our fate. Eventually it could but you'd have to track the information that your brain gives after you do everything. There also hasn't been a research showing they know exactly what the person is going to do next, it just shows that the brain knew that they were doing an action. Once technology advances, I would like to believe that neuroscience can predict our fate and our free will. But for now, I would like to think our fate is undecided, and neuroscience can't predict it.

Sources

Porterfield, Andrew. "Http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2015/07/21/neuroscience-of-free-will-does-reaching-for-beer-with-robotic-arm-mean-free-will-doesnt-exist/." Genetic Literacy Project. N.p., n.d. Web.


"Scientific Evidence That You Probably Don't Have Free Will." Io9. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.


"Brain Structures and Their Functions." Brain Structures and Their Functions. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.