Saturday, July 30, 2011

Brain, Braking, and Intention

Studies by researchers at the Technical University of Berlin (as reported in the Journal of Neural Engineering): Research using a driving simulator indicating that the driver's intention to perform emergency braking can be detected based on muscle activation and cerebral activity prior to any actual behavioral response. Electrical signals from the brain were detected 130 milliseconds before drivers actually hit the brakes. Reviewing EEG and EMG data, researchers were able to identify signals in the brain that occurred consistently during emergency brake response situations. Identical levels of predictive accuracy were attained using electroencephalography (EEG), which worked more quickly than electromyography (EMG), and using EMG, which worked more quickly than pedal dynamics. This is another indicating that the brain is "thinking" before those thoughts come to conscious awareness and before any action response occurs.

It will be interesting to follow results of any additional studies. This opens up speculation about what "pre-meditation" may involve and what it may mean . . .

No comments: