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Choice and Chance: Saccadic Randomness and its Implications
Monday, December 16, 2002,
12:00:00 PM Time displayed is Eastern Time, Washington DC Local
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Reaction times are too long to be explained by simple physiological factors such as conduction velocity or synaptic delay. Rather, they reflect a process of procrastination: higher, cortical levels of the brain tonically inhibit lower executive levels to give them time to decide what to do. The fact that reaction time varies randomly from trial to trial therefore reflects a fundamental property of this decision mechanism that can be explained quite parsimoniously by the LATER model (Linear Rise to Threshold with Ergodic Rate), which embodies a mechanism of gratuitous randomness.
In this talk, the evidence for the LATER model and its neural embodiment is discussed along with its implications for the nature of the neural mechanisms underlying choice and the sense of 'free will'.