Nobody made me write this. Except for my own self-delusion.
I had always thought that I was a reasonably free-thinking individual, faults and all. However, I can see now that my behavior is nothing more than the result of electric interference.
Please forgive this rampant confession, but my mind has just been twisted by another piece of research from a fine educational establishment.
I had always thought that the University of California, Davis, was merely full of aspiring winemakers. However, Live Science informs me that it has a Center for Mind and Brain.
Its researchers have just released a mind-altering piece of research titled "Spontaneous Neural Fluctuations Predict Decisions to Attend." It suggests we may have no free will. Because there isn't any.
Instead, they posit that the notion of free will -- the feeling that you're doing something just because you want to -- is merely the result of electric activity in the brain.
The question is, what kind of electrical activity is it? Rick Addante, a neurologist at the University of Texas in Austin, told Live Science that the electrical activity might not be "all noise." He said: "The question then becomes, what is it, and what is the information that it contains."
I don't know about you, but mine sometimes resembles a symphony orchestra fighting over Guns N' Roses in their heyday.
Still, these guinea pigs were told to stare at a screen and then, given a cue on that screen, to choose to look left or right. Simple enough.
What the guinea pigs didn't know was that the researchers were examining whether there was any link between the brain patterns before decision-making and the actual decision made.
The researchers concluded that the decision-making was linked to the brain's electrical activity, an activity they describe as "random."
Study co-author Jesse Bengson explained it to me like this: "We are at a point now in the progression of our understanding of the brain,where it is safe to say that there is something we call 'noise' in the brain. This 'noise' is simply the fact that the brain appears to carry an ongoing time-varying signal that is not part of a traditional stimulus-response or simple linear cause and effect models of neural transmission."