About this Research Topic
The experience of conscious free will is universal amongst people. By drawing causal inferences about relationships between actions and thoughts, we attribute ownership to actions and use such insights to help understand our mental selves. A fundamental question regarding “free will” and consciousness is how mental entities are derived from neurophysiological processes and how these are regulated to produce our experience of willful actions.
This topic continues to be a subject of debate, but as more data are gathered and more models are proposed, a general framework is required to conceptualise and integrate theories of nervous system dynamics with free will and volitional actions. The purpose of this Research Topic issue is to address how willed and voluntary actions arise in relation to brain processes that produce them and to better assess the dynamics of these brain processes at short time scales using electrophysiological recordings. We hope that this will provide insight into the ongoing neural activity and dynamics necessary to support willed actions and avoid hurdles in the understanding of this topic that are commonly encountered with functional neuroimaging studies.
The advancement of neuroimaging methods has afforded valuable insight into brain areas involved in willed actions, but the characterization of more dynamic aspects such as the coordinated patterns of activity across cellular networks involved in these processes is lagging behind. We would like to encourage contributions that examine brain coordination dynamics at empirical or theoretical levels, perhaps with emphasis on the short time scales afforded by electrophysiological methods, to address the neurophysiological and psychological processes underlying the many aspects of “free will” like decision-making, intentional actions, perception of free will, or other related topics.