Apparent Mental Causation


The theory of apparent mental causation outlines the conditions under which people experience a sense of consciously willing their actions. Although people often feel that their conscious thoughts cause their actions, this feeling is illusory, as both their actions and their experience of willing them arise independently from unconscious sources. People feel apparent mental causation when their thoughts precede their actions (priority), when their thoughts are consistent with their actions (consistency), and when their thoughts are the only plausible cause of their actions (exclusivity).

An Example

Imagine that you're in the park on a summer day and a specific tree branch catches your eyes. You think, “I wish it would move up and down,” and lo and behold, it moves. Not only that, it moves in ...

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