March 3


Do Longer Exhalations Affect Free Will Before Taking Action?

By Peter Julian

March 3, 2020

Researchers have found a potential link between actions and your breathing cycle. According to a new study, you are more likely to initiate an action when you exhale than when you inhale. This means a potential connection between your breathing and free will, as we are primed to act more on exhalation than inhalation. This also potentially means that you can take advantage of this by exhaling longer to help with sports, a steady hand, or more.

Key Takeaways:

  • Research shows that humans are more likely to engage in voluntary actions during an exhale than they are when they are inhaling.
  • Readiness potential is shown to have a relationship of freewill because signals light up in the cerebral cortex right before people make voluntary movements.
  • Breathing and many other acts that our body experiences are not based on freewill, but based on how the brain processes signals.

“Olaf Blanke, who is the senior author of this paper, speculates that our free will may be more affected by interoceptive signals related to breathing than previously recognized.”

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