In the ‘pick a button and tell me the letter that is showing when you pick’ experiment some time-gap existed between the neurological signifier of the chosen button and the subject’s reported ‘moment of choice’. What would happen if the procedure were accelerated to the point that there were less time available to the subject to make a choice than the slowest observed delay? Would the subject then be unable to make any choices? Would they still choose but not feel like they are choosing freely?
Also, if the subject were told what their brain activity was predicting would they be able to ‘change their mind’ and click the other button? Or would it be too late and the subject would then experience their finger pressing a button against their ‘will’?
Nice post. I’ve read quite a bit on this. Fascinating isn’t it. Something about it just doesn’t feel quite right though. As you’ve noticed, it seems. Almost like time-travel, there are too many little ‘buts’.
This is the most convincing criticism of Libet’s experiments I’ve read:
“Alfred Mele has criticized the interpretation of the Libet results ... the mere appearance of the RP a half-second or more before the action in no way makes the RP the cause of the action. It may simply mark the beginning of forming an intention to act.” - http://www.informationphilosopher.com/
As far as your questions go, I’m not sure that one could convey a meaningful, complex message to someone in less than half a second…