Javascript Menu by Deluxe-Menu.com
MindPapers is now part of PhilPapers: online research in philosophy, a new service with many more features.
 
 Compiled by David Chalmers (Editor) & David Bourget (Assistant Editor), Australian National University. Submit an entry.
 
   
click here for help on how to search

8.8e. Action and Consciousness in Psychology (Action and Consciousness in Psychology on PhilPapers)

See also:
Baars, Bernard J. (1992). Experimental Slips and Human Error: Exploring the Architecture of Volition. Plenum Press.   (Cited by 45 | Google)
Abstract: This work makes three valuable contributions to the study of human slips and errors.
Baars, Bernard J. (1987). What is conscious in the control of action? A modern ideomotor theory of voluntary action. In D. Gorfein & Robert R. Hoffman (eds.), Learning and Memory: The Ebbinghaus Centennial Symposium. Lawrence Erlbaum.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
Baars, Bernard J. (1993). Why volition is a foundation issue for psychology. Consciousness and Cognition 2:281-309.   (Cited by 4 | Google)
Banks, William P. (2006). Does consciousness cause misbehavior? In Susan Pockett, William P. Banks & Shaun Gallagher (eds.), Does Consciousness Cause Behavior? MIT Press.   (Google)
Bargh, John A. (1996). Automaticity in action: The unconscious as repository of chronic goals and motives. In P. Gollwitzer & John A. Bargh (eds.), The Psychology of Action: Linking Cognition and Motivation to Behavior. Guilford.   (Cited by 137 | Google)
Bargh, John A. (2004). Being here now: Is consciousness necessary for human freedom? In Jeff Greenberg, Sander L. Koole & Tom Pyszczynski (eds.), Handbook of Experimental Existential Psychology. Guilford Press.   (Google)
Becchio, Cristina & Bertone, Cesare (2005). Beyond cartesian subjectivism: Neural correlates of shared intentionality. Journal of Consciousness Studies 12 (7):20-30.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: In the present paper we present a short review of some recent neuro- physiological and neuropsychological findings which suggest that self-generated actions and actions of others are mapped on the same neural substratum. Since this substratum is neutral with respect to the agent, correctly attributing an action to its proper author requires the co-activation of areas specific to the self and the other. A conceptual analysis of the empirical data will lead us to conclude that from a neurobiological point of view the problem is not 'how is it possible to share the intentions of others', but rather 'how one can distinguish one's own action/intention from those of other people'
Becchio, Cristina & Bertone, Cesare (2004). Wittgenstein running: Neural mechanisms of collective intentionality and we-mode. Consciousness and Cognition 13 (1):123-133.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
Blakemore, Sarah-Jayne; Wolpert, Daniel M. & Frith, Christopher D. (2002). Abnormalities in the awareness of action. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 6 (6):237-242.   (Cited by 62 | Google | More links)
Blakemore, Sarah-Jane (2003). Deluding the motor system. Consciousness and Cognition 12 (4):647-655.   (Cited by 11 | Google | More links)
Abstract: How do we know that our own actions belong to us? How are we able to distinguish self-generated sensory events from those that arise externally? In this paper, I will briefly discuss experiments that were designed to investigate these questions. In particularly, I will review psychophysical and neuroimaging studies that have investigated how we recognise the consequences of our own actions, and why patients with delusions of control confuse self-produced and externally produced actions and sensations. Studies investigating the failure of this 'self-monitoring' mechanism in patients with delusions of control will be discussed in the context of the hypothesis that overactivity in the parietal cortex and the cerebellum contribute to the misattribution of an action to an external source ()
Blakemore, Sarah-Jayne & Frith, Chris (2003). Self-awareness and action. Current Opinion in Neurobiology. Special Issue 13 (2):219-224.   (Cited by 29 | Google | More links)
Cleeremans, Axel (forthcoming). How do we know what we are doing?: Time, intention and awareness of action. Consciousness and Cognition.   (Google)
Abstract: Time is a fundamental dimension of consciousness. Many studies of the “sense of agency” have investigated whether we attribute actions to ourselves based on a conscious experience of intention occurring prior to action, or based on a reconstruction after the action itself has occurred. Here we ask the same question about a lower-level aspect of action experience, namely awareness of the detailed spatial form of a simple movement. Subjects reached for a target, which unpredictably jumped to the side on some trials. Participants (1) expressed their expectancy of a target shift during the upcoming movement, (2) pointed at the target as quickly and accurately as possible before returning to the start position, making a visuomotor adjustment to the target shift if required and (3) reproduced the spatial path of the movement they had just made, as accurately as possible, to give an indication of their awareness of the pointing movement. We analysed the spatial disparity between the initial and the reproduced movements on those with a target shift. A negative disparity value, or undershoot, suggests that motor awareness merely reflects a sluggish record of coordinated motor performance, while a positive value, or overshoot, suggests that participants’ intention to point to the shifting target contributes more to their awareness of action than their actual pointing movement. Undershoot and overshoot thus measure the reconstructive (motoric) and the preconstuctive (intentional) aspects of action awareness, respectively. We found that trials on which subjects strongly expected a target shift showed greater overshoot and less undershoot than trials with lower expectancy. Conscious expectancy therefore strongly influences the experience of the detailed motor parameters of our actions. Further, a delay inserted either between the expectancy judgement and the pointing movement, or between the pointing movement and the reproduction of the movement, had no effect on visuomotor adjustment but strongly influenced action awareness..
Daprati, E.; Franck, N.; Georgieff, N.; Proust, Joëlle; Pacherie, Elisabeth; Dalery, J. & Jeannerod, Marc (1997). Looking for the agent: An investigation into consciousness of action and self-consciousness in schizophrenic patients. Cognition 65:71-86.   (Cited by 179 | Google | More links)
Delabarre, E. B. (1911). Volition and motor consciousness: Theory. Psychological Bulletin 8:378-82.   (Google)
Delabarre, E. B. (1912). Volition and motor consciousness: Theory. Psychological Bulletin 9:409-13.   (Google)
Delabarre, E. B. (1913). Volition and motor consciousness. Psychological Bulletin 10:441-44.   (Google)
de Vignemont, F. & Fourneret, P. (2004). The sense of agency: A philosophical and empirical review of the "who" system. Consciousness and Cognition 13 (1):1-19.   (Cited by 12 | Google)
Ellis, Ralph D. (1997). Purposeful processes, personalism, and the contemporary natural and cognitive sciences. Personalist Forum 13 (1):49-67.   (Google)
Freeman, Walter J. (2006). Consciousness, Intentionality, and Causality. In Susan Pockett, William P. Banks & Shaun Gallagher (eds.), Does Consciousness Cause Behavior? MIT Press.   (Cited by 37 | Google)
Frith, Christopher D. (2002). Attention to action and awareness of other minds. Consciousness and Cognition 11 (4):481-487.   (Cited by 60 | Google | More links)
Georgieff, N. & Jeannerod, Marc (1998). Beyond consciousness of external reality: A ''who'' system for consciousness of action and self-consciousness. Consciousness and Cognition 7 (3):465-477.   (Cited by 88 | Google | More links)
Abstract: This paper offers a framework for consciousness of internal reality. Recent PET experiments are reviewed, showing partial overlap of cortical activation during self-produced actions and actions observed from other people. This overlap suggests that representations for actions may be shared by several individuals, a situation which creates a potential problem for correctly attributing an action to its agent. The neural conditions for correct agency judgments are thus assigned a key role in self/other distinction and self-consciousness. A series of behavioral experiments that demonstrate, in normal subjects, the poor monitoring of action-related signals and the difficulty in recognizing self-produced actions are described. In patients presenting delusions, this difficulty dramatically increases and actions become systematically misattributed. These results point to schizophrenia and related disorders as a paradigmatic alteration of a ''Who?'' system for self-consciousness
Ginsburg, Carl (1999). Body-image, movement and consciousness: Examples from a somatic practice in the Feldenkrais method. Journal of Consciousness Studies 6 (2-3):79-91.   (Cited by 11 | Google | More links)
Gonzalez, E.; Broens, M. & Haselager, Pim (2004). Consciousness and agency: The importance of self-organized action. Networks 3:103-13.   (Google)
Grafman, Jordan & Krueger, Frank (2006). Volition and the human prefrontal cortex. In Natalie Sebanz & Wolfgang Prinz (eds.), Disorders of Volition. MIT Press.   (Google)
Gustafson, Don (2007). Neurosciences of action and noncausal theories. Philosophical Psychology 20 (3):367–374.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Recent neuroscience and psychology of behavior have suggested that conscious decisions may have no causal role in the etiology of intentional action. Such results pose a threat to traditional philosophical analyses of action. On such views beliefs, desires and conscious willing are part of the causal structure of intentional action. But if the suggestions from neuroscience/psychology are correct, analyses of this kind are wrong. Conscious antecedents of action are epiphenomenal. This essay explores this consequence. It also notes that the traditional alternative to causal analyses of intentional action is not threatened by the putative scientific findings. This, in turn, is ironic in that defenders of the noncausal accounts of action were thought to be in opposition to the natural sciences of action whereas the analyses in the causal style were "on the side of physicalism." This result is also assessed in what follows
Haggard, Patrick; Catledge, P.; Dafydd, M. & Oakley, David A. (2004). Anomalous control: When "free will" is not conscious. Consciousness and Cognition 13 (3):646-654.   (Cited by 6 | Google | More links)
Haggard, Patrick (2006). Conscious intention and the sense of agency. In Natalie Sebanz & Wolfgang Prinz (eds.), Disorders of Volition. MIT Press.   (Cited by 3 | Google)
Haggard, Patrick (2005). Conscious intention and motor cognition. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 9 (6):290-295.   (Cited by 14 | Google | More links)
Haggard, Patrick & Johnson, Henry C. (2003). Experiences of voluntary action. Journal of Consciousness Studies 10.   (Cited by 9 | Google)
Haggard, Patrick & Clark, S. (2003). Intentional action: Conscious experience and neural prediction. Consciousness and Cognition 12 (4):695-707.   (Cited by 16 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Intentional action involves both a series of neural events in the motor areas of the brain, and also a distinctive conscious experience that ''I'' am the author of the action. This paper investigates some possible ways in which these neural and phenomenal events may be related. Recent models of motor prediction are relevant to the conscious experience of action as well as to its neural control. Such models depend critically on matching the actual consequences of a movement against its internally predicted effects. However, it remains unclear whether our conscious experience of action depends on a precise matching process, or a retrospective inference that ''I'' must have been responsible for a particular event. We report an experiment in which normal subjects judged the perceived time of either intentional actions, involuntary movements, or subsequent effects (auditory tones) of these. We found that the subject's intention to produce the auditory tone produced an intentional binding between the perceived times of the subject's action and the tone. However, if the intention was interrupted by an imposed involuntary movement, followed by the identical tone, no such binding occurred. The phenomenology of intentional action requires an appropriate predictive link between intentions and effects, rather than a retrospective inference that ''I'' caused the effect
Haggard, Patrick; Clark, Sam & Kalogeras, Jeri (2002). Voluntary action and conscious awareness. Nature Neuroscience 5 (4):382-385.   (Cited by 85 | Google | More links)
Hurley, Susan L. (2006). Bypassing conscious control: Unconscious imitation, media violence, and freedom of speech. In Susan Pockett, William P. Banks & Shaun Gallagher (eds.), Does Consciousness Cause Behavior? MIT Press.   (Google)
Hurley, Susan L. (1998). Consciousness in Action. Harvard University Press.   (Cited by 296 | Google | More links)
Hyder, Fahmeed (1997). "Willed action": A functional MRI study of the human prefrontal cortex during a sensorimitor task. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci 94:6989-6994.   (Cited by 3 | Google)
Jeannerod, Marc (2003). Consciousness of action and self-consciousness: A cognitive neuroscience approach. In Agency and Self-Awareness: Issues in Philosophy and Psychology. Oxford: Clarendon Press.   (Cited by 12 | Google)
Jeannerod, Marc (2006). Consciousness of action as an embodied consciousness. In Susan Pockett, William P. Banks & Shaun Gallagher (eds.), Does Consciousness Cause Behavior? MIT Press.   (Google)
Jeannerod, Marc (2007). Consciousness of action. In Max Velmans & Susan Schneider (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. Blackwell.   (Google)
Jeannerod, Marc (2006). From volition to agency: The mechanism of action recognition and its failures. In Natalie Sebanz & Wolfgang Prinz (eds.), Disorders of Volition. MIT Press.   (Google)
Johnson, Helen & Haggard, Patrick (2005). Motor awareness without perceptual awareness. Neuropsychologia. Special Issue 43 (2):227-237.   (Cited by 3 | Google)
Jordan, J. Scott (2003). Emergence of self and other in perception and action: An event-control approach. Consciousness and Cognition 12 (4):633-646.   (Cited by 6 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The present paper analyzes the regularities referred to via the concept 'self.' This is important, for cognitive science traditionally models the self as a cognitive mediator between perceptual inputs and behavioral outputs. This leads to the assertion that the self causes action. Recent findings in social psychology indicate this is not the case and, as a consequence, certain cognitive scientists model the self as being epiphenomenal. In contrast, the present paper proposes an alternative approach (i.e., the event-control approach) that is based on recently discovered regularities between perception and action. Specifically, these regularities indicate that perception and action planning utilize common neural resources. This leads to a coupling of perception, planning, and action in which the first two constitute aspects of a single system (i.e., the distal-event system) that is able to pre-specify and detect distal events. This distal-event system is then coupled with action (i.e., effector-control systems) in a constraining, as opposed to 'causal' manner. This model has implications for how we conceptualize the manner in which one infers the intentions of another, anticipates the intentions of another, and possibly even experiences another. In conclusion, it is argued that it may be possible to map the concept 'self' onto the regularities referred to in the event-control model, not in order to reify 'the self' as a causal mechanism, but to demonstrate its status as a useful concept that refers to regularities that are part of the natural order
Judd, Charles H. (1909). Motor processes and consciousness. Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 6 (4):85-91.   (Google | More links)
Kibele, Armin (2006). Non-consciously controlled decision making for fast motor reactions in sports--a priming approach for motor responses to non-consciously perceived movement features. Psychology of Sport and Exercise 7 (6):591-610.   (Google)
Kimble, G. A. & Perlmuter, L. C. (1970). The problem of volition. Psychological Review 77:361-84.   (Cited by 48 | Google)
Kinsbourne, Marcel (2000). Consciousness in action: Antecedents and origins. Mind and Language 15 (5):545-555.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Libet, Benjamin W. (1985). Unconscious cerebral initiative and the role of conscious will in voluntary action. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 8:529-66.   (Cited by 3 | Google)
MacDonald, Penny A. & Paus, Tomás (2003). The role of parietal cortex in awareness of self-generated movements: A transcranial magnetic stimulation study. Cerebral Cortex 13 (9):962-967.   (Cited by 28 | Google | More links)
Mangan, Bruce (2003). Volition and property dualism. Journal of Consciousness Studies 10 (12):29-34.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Marcel, Anthony J. (2003). The sense of agency: Awareness and ownership of action. In Agency and Self-Awareness: Issues in Philosophy and Psychology. Oxford: Clarendon Press.   (Cited by 59 | Google)
Metzinger, Thomas (2003). Motor ontology: The representational reality of goals, actions and selves. Philosophical Psychology.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The representational dynamics of the brain is a subsymbolic process, and it has to be_
Metzinger, Thomas & Gallese, Vittorio (2003). Of course they do. Consciousness and Cognition 12 (4):574-576.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Metzinger, Thomas & Gallese, Vittorio (2003). The emergence of a shared action ontology: Building blocks for a theory. Consciousness and Cognition 12 (4):549-571.   (Cited by 32 | Google | More links)
Abstract: To have an ontology is to interpret a world. In this paper we argue that the brain, viewed as a representational system aimed at interpreting our world, possesses an ontology too. It creates primitives and makes existence assumptions. It decomposes target space in a way that exhibits a certain invariance, which in turn is functionally significant. We will investigate which are the functional regularities guiding this decomposition process, by answering to the following questions: What are the explicit and implicit assumptions about the structure of reality, which at the same time shape the causal profile of the brain's motor output and its representational deep structure, in particular of the conscious mind arising from it (its ''phenomenal output'')? How do they constrain high-level phenomena like conscious experience, the emergence of a first-person perspective, or social cognition? By reviewing a series of neuroscientific results and integrating them with a wider philosophical perspective, we will emphasize the contribution the motor system makes to this process. As it will be shown, the motor system constructs goals, actions, and intending selves as basic constituents of the world it interprets. It does so by assigning a single, unified causal role to them. Empirical evidence demonstrates that the brain models movements and action goals in terms of multimodal representations of organism-object-relations. Under a representationalist analysis, this process can be conceived of as an internal, dynamic representation of the intentionality-relation itself. We will show how such a complex form of representational content, once it is in place, can later function as a functional building block for social cognition and for a more complex, consciously experienced representation of the first-person perspective as well
Moore, James (2007). Awareness of action: Inference and prediction. Consciousness and Cognition.   (Google)
Abstract: This study investigates whether the conscious awareness of action is based on predictive motor control processes, or on inferential “sense-making” process that occur after the action itself. We investigated whether the temporal binding between perceptual estimates of operant actions and their effects depends on the occurrence of the effect (inferential processes) or on the prediction that the effect will occur (predictive processes). By varying the probability with which a simple manual action produced an auditory effect, we showed that both the actual and the predicted occurrence of the effect played a role. When predictability of the effect of action was low, temporal binding was found only on those trials where the auditory effect occurred. In contrast, when predictability of the effect of action was high, temporal binding occurred even on trials where the action produced no effect. Further analysis showed that the predictive process is modulated by recent experience of the action-effect relation. We conclude that the experience of action depends on a dynamic combination of predictive and inferential processes
Mulert, Christoph; Menzinger, Elisabeth; Leicht, Gregor; Pogarell, Oliver & Hegerl, Ulrich (2005). Evidence for a close relationship between conscious effort and anterior cingulate cortex activity. International Journal of Psychophysiology 56 (1):65-80.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Newton, Natika (2001). The function of the cerebellum in cognition, affect and consciousness: Empirical support for the embodied mind--introduction. Consciousness and Emotion 2 (2):273-276.   (Google)
Obhi, Sukhvinder S. (2007). Evidence for feedback dependent conscious awareness of action. Brain Research 1161:88-94.   (Google)
O'Regan, Kevin J. (ms). Skill, corporality and alerting capacity in an account of sensory consciousness.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Passingham, Richard E. & Lau, Hakwan C. (2006). Free choice and the human brain. In Susan Pockett, William P. Banks & Shaun Gallagher (eds.), Does Consciousness Cause Behavior? MIT Press.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Pontius, Anneliese A. (2003). From volitional action to automatized homicide: Changing levels of self and consciousness during partial limbic seizures. Aggression and Violent Behavior 8 (5):547-561.   (Cited by 5 | Google)
Prinz, Wolfgang (2003). Neurons don't represent. Consciousness and Cognition 12 (4):572-573.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Pronin, E.; Wegner, Daniel M.; McCarthy, K. & Rodriguez, S. (2006). Everyday magical powers: The role of apparent mental causation in the overestimation of personal influence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 91:218-231.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Abstract: These studies examined whether having thoughts related to an event before it occurs leads people to infer that they caused the event— even when such causation might otherwise seem magical. In Study 1, people perceived that they had harmed another person via a voodoo hex. These perceptions were more likely among those who had first been induced to harbor evil thoughts about their victim. In Study 2, spectators of a peer’s basketball-shooting performance were more likely to perceive that they had influenced his success if they had first generated positive visualizations consistent with that success. Observers privy to those spectators’ visualizations made similar attributions about the spectators’ influence. Finally, addi- tional studies suggested that these results occur even when the thought-about outcome is viewed as unwanted by the thinker and even in field settings where the relevant outcome is occurring as part of a live athletic competition
Simonson, Itamar (2005). In defense of consciousness: The role of conscious and unconscious inputs in consumer choice. Journal of Consumer Psychology 15 (3):211-217.   (Cited by 5 | Google | More links)
Spence, Sean A. (2001). Alien control: From phenomenology to cognitive neurobiology. Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 8 (2-3):163-172.   (Cited by 11 | Google | More links)
Stöttinger, Elisabeth & Perner, Josef (2006). Dissociating size representation for action and for conscious judgment: Grasping visual illusions without apparent obstacles. Consciousness and Cognition 15 (2):269-284.   (Google)
Umilta, Carlo (2007). Consciousness and control of action. In Philip David Zelazo, Morris Moscovitch & Evan Thompson (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Consciousness. Cambridge.   (Google)
van Duijn, Marc & Bem, Sacha (2005). On the alleged illusion of conscious will. Philosophical Psychology 18 (6):699-714.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The belief that conscious will is merely "an illusion created by the brain" appears to be gaining in popularity among cognitive neuroscientists. Its main adherents usually refer to the classic, but controversial 'Libet-experiments', as the empirical evidence that vindicates this illusion-claim. However, based on recent work that provides other interpretations of the Libet-experiments, we argue that the illusion-claim is not only empirically invalid, but also theoretically incoherent, as it is rooted in a category mistake; namely, the presupposition that neuronal activity causes conscious will. We show that the illusion-claim is based on the behaviorist 'input-output' paradigm, and discuss the notions of 'self-organization' and 'self-steering' to provide an alternative perspective on the causal efficacy of conscious will. In the final sections, a tentative theoretical picture is sketched of conscious will as an instance of self-steered self-organization. We conclude that the subjective experience of conscious will is not a misguided one, but rather that the mechanisms supporting conscious will are considerably more complex than mainstream cognitive neuroscience currently acknowledges
Wegner, Daniel M. (2003). The Illusion of Conscious Will. MIT Press.   (Cited by 467 | Google | More links)
Abstract: In this book Daniel Wegner offers a novel understanding of the issue.
Wegner, Daniel M. (2003). The mind's best trick: How we experience conscious will. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 7 (2):65-69.   (Google | More links)
Wegner, Daniel M. & Erskine, J. (2003). Voluntary involuntariness: Thought suppression and the regulation of the experience of will. Consciousness and Cognition 12 (4):684-694.   (Cited by 8 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Participants were asked to carry out a series of simple tasks while following mental control instructions. In advance of each task, they either suppressed thoughts of their intention to perform the task, concentrated on such thoughts, or monitored their thoughts without trying to change them. Suppression resulted in reduced reports of intentionality as compared to monitoring, and as compared to concentration. There was a weak trend for suppression to enhance reported intentionality for a repetition of the action carried out after suppression instructions had been discontinued
Weiss, A. P. (1918). Conscious behavior. Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 15 (23):631-641.   (Google | More links)
Wohlschläger, Andreas; Engbert, Kai & Haggard, Patrick (2003). Intentionality as a constituting condition for the own self--and other selves. Consciousness and Cognition 12 (4):708-716.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Introspectively, the awareness of actions includes the awareness of the intentions accompanying them. Therefore, the awareness of self-generated actions might be expected to differ from the awareness of other-generated actions to the extent that access to one's own and to other's intentions differs. However, we recently showed that the perceived onset times of self- vs. other-generated actions are similar, yet both are different from comparable events that are conceived as being generated by a machine. This similarity raises two interesting possibilities. First we could infer the intentions of others from their actions. Second and more radically, we could equally infer our own intentions from the actions we perform rather than sense them. We present two new experiments which investigate the role of action effects in the awareness of self- and other-generated actions by means of measuring the estimated onset time. The results show that the presence of action effects is necessary for the similarity of awareness of self- and other-generated actions
Young, G. (2006). Preserving the role of conscious decision making in the initiation of intentional action. Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (3):51-68.   (Google)
Abstract: The aim of this paper is to challenge the claim that the neural activity commonly referred to as 'readiness potential' constitutes evidence for the unconscious initiation of action. Although I accept that such neural activity seriously challenges the commonly held view that one's sense of volition is causally efficacious, I nevertheless contend that much of our everyday engagement with the world is consciously initiated. Thus, a distinction is made between awareness and what the awareness is of: the latter constituting the conscious decision to act in accordance with one's goal, or what I have termed intentional project. Initiation of an action in accordance with one's intentional project grounds the action in meaning, something that would be lacking in an exclusively unconscious decision to act
Zhu, Jing (2004). Locating volition. Consciousness and Cognition 13 (2):302-322.   (Cited by 8 | Google)
Abstract: In this paper, it is examined how neuroscience can help to understand the nature of volition by addressing the question whether volitions can be localized in the brain. Volitions, as acts of the will, are special mental events or activities by which an agent consciously and actively exercises her agency to voluntarily direct her thoughts and actions. If we can pinpoint when and where volitional events or activities occur in the brain and find out their neural underpinnings, this can substantively aid to demystify the concept of volition. After first discussing some methodological issues regarding whether it is possible to locate volition in the brain, various approaches by which neuroscientists and psychologists explore the neural correlates and substrates of volition are examined. Although different psychological conceptualizations of volition shape different perspectives toward understanding the functions of volition, the explorations of the neural basis of volition converge on certain common brain areas and structures. A unifying conception of volition that helps to make better sense of recent empirical findings is then suggested.
Zhu, Jing (2003). Reclaiming volition: An alternative interpretation of Libet's experiment. Journal of Consciousness Studies 10 (11):61-77.   (Google)
Zhu, Jing (2004). Understanding volition. Philosophical Psychology 17 (2):247-274.   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The concept of volition has a long history in Western thought, but is looked upon unfavorably in contemporary philosophy and psychology. This paper proposes and elaborates a unifying conception of volition, which views volition as a mediating executive mental process that bridges the gaps between an agent's deliberation, decision and voluntary bodily action. Then the paper critically examines three major skeptical arguments against volition: volition is a mystery, volition is an illusion, and volition is a fundamentally flawed conception that leads to infinite regress. It is shown that all these charges are untenable and the arguments are far from decisive to dismiss the concept of volition. In addition, it is suggested that a naturalistic approach, which takes philosophical inquiry as continuous with the scientific study of volition, is a promising way to demystify volition