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I read about an experiment in which the researcher could predict which finger a test person would raise at a given signal. Already before the test person was conscious about which finger to raise, the researcher could tell by the image of the test person's brain (which can be obtained from an MRI- or PET-scan of the brain) finger it would gonna be.

Is there a way of behavior for the test person so the researcher can't predict which finger the person is gonna stick up?

For example, could this be possible if the test person relates his choice to the ticking of the clock in the research room? By which I mean that when the experiment starts, the person under investigation can look at the seconds showing finger (how appropriate in this experiment!) and at each tick, he or she thinks of the next finger on his hands (starting with a by the person predetermined finger and going from the left to the right or vice-versa). When the signal sound he raises the finger which he has in mind at that moment.

This doesn't change the goal of the experiment which is if one can predict which finger someone raises.

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  • $\begingroup$ Could you explain a little more about the research, because it is rather vague at the moment. Including a reference of the paper you read would also be very helpful. $\endgroup$ – Robin Kramer Jul 2 '16 at 11:05
  • $\begingroup$ @Robin Kramer Sorry for reacting so late. The test person is full of wires on his head which can let the researcher peep into his head and monitor unconscious patterns of neural activity. The test person is then asked to raise one of his fingers, and because there is an unconscious neural pattern active before the test person becomes aware of which finger to raise, the researcher can predict which finger the test person is gonna raise. On a screen the researcher sees peks in the subconscious, which correspond to a finger. $\endgroup$ – Deschele Schilder Jul 2 '16 at 19:32
  • $\begingroup$ Now we can base our choice which finger to raise on conscious counting. A 1 corresponds to the little finger, a 2 to the ring finger, etc. Will the researcher still be able to predict which finger is gonna be raised? $\endgroup$ – Deschele Schilder Jul 2 '16 at 19:47
  • $\begingroup$ There are a few experiments, summarized here en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…, where subjects are able to veto decisions after predictions are made - so in these cases, the subject can make a decision unconsciously, the researcher can then determine the decision before the subject is aware of it, provide that information to the subject, and then the subject still has enough time to change their decision. $\endgroup$ – Arnon Weinberg Jul 3 '16 at 2:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Arnon Weinberg Okay, but that´s not the case in this experiment. The researcher can monitor the unconscious decision made by the person, and then predict the conscious decision about which finger to raise. There is no feedback. But what if the test person bases his decision on an external source like a clock on the wall. ! Stand for a finger, 2 for another, etc. I´m talking about the seconds the clock shows. $\endgroup$ – Deschele Schilder Jul 3 '16 at 8:02