A Caltech Library Service

Free will without consciousness?

Mudrik, Liad and Gur Arie, Inbal and Amir, Yoni and Shir, Yarden and Hieronymi, Pamela and Maoz, Uri and O'Connor, Timothy and Schurger, Aaron and Vargas, Manuel and Vierkant, Tillmann and Sinnott-Armstrong, Walter and Roskies, Adina (2022) Free will without consciousness? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 26 (7). pp. 555-566. ISSN 1364-6613. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2022.03.005.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

[img] MS Word - Supplemental Material
Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Findings demonstrating decision-related neural activity preceding volitional actions have dominated the discussion about how science can inform the free will debate. These discussions have largely ignored studies suggesting that decisions might be influenced or biased by various unconscious processes. If these effects are indeed real, do they render subjects’ decisions less free or even unfree? Here, we argue that, while unconscious influences on decision-making do not threaten the existence of free will in general, they provide important information about limitations on freedom in specific circumstances. We demonstrate that aspects of this long-lasting controversy are empirically testable and provide insight into their bearing on degrees of freedom, laying the groundwork for future scientific-philosophical approaches.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Mudrik, Liad0000-0003-3564-6445
Hieronymi, Pamela0000-0002-7084-5581
Maoz, Uri0000-0002-7899-1241
Vargas, Manuel0000-0001-8783-710X
Vierkant, Tillmann0000-0002-9686-2937
Sinnott-Armstrong, Walter0000-0003-2579-9966
Roskies, Adina0000-0003-2738-916X
Additional Information:© 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license ( Available online 12 April 2022, Version of Record 14 June 2022. This publication was made possible through the support of a joint grant from the John Templeton Foundation and the Fetzer Institute. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation or the Fetzer Institute. L.M. is CIFAR Tanenbaum Fellow in the Brain, Mind, and Consciousness program. Declaration of interests: None declared by authors.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
John Templeton FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Fetzer InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:free will; voluntary action; unconscious processes; subliminal priming; decision-making
Issue or Number:7
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220504-347617000
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Liad Mudrik, Inbal Gur Arie, Yoni Amir, Yarden Shir, Pamela Hieronymi, Uri Maoz, Timothy O'Connor, Aaron Schurger, Manuel Vargas, Tillmann Vierkant, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Adina Roskies, Free will without consciousness?, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Volume 26, Issue 7, 2022, Pages 555-566, ISSN 1364-6613,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:114591
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:04 May 2022 23:57
Last Modified:12 Jul 2022 20:33

Repository Staff Only: item control page