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Are we in control of ourselves, or are ourselves in control of us?

As we have been discussing, your customers are mainly unaware of reasons behind their behavior. Nevertheless, conscious mind upholds its own apparent authorship of control by drawing probable causal inferences about relationships between thoughts and actions, even though conscious mind is usually departed from actual causal processes.

If the previous sentence was not interesting enough, think about this: if the conscious mind, or you as a conscious person, are so unaware of your own behavior and its basis, which of these two levels of mind, conscious or unconscious, holds the actual authorship of control of you? Is your subjective experience of freedom no more than an illusion and are your actions initiated by unconscious mental processes before you become aware of your intention to act? Do you even have a free will? That is a hot topic in neuroscience and several researchers are probing this exact question.

For example, the scientist have already found that specific regions in the human brain have considerable information that predicts the outcome of a motor decision the subject had not yet consciously made. Subjects were watching a screen that flashed a random sequence of letters at half-second intervals. At a time of their free and conscious choosing, subjects were asked to press a button with either their left or right hands. Throughout the process, the brain activity was recorded. It was found that regions involved in decision making were activated even up to 10 seconds before the subjects consciously decided to press the button! The scientists also found that the brain areas involved in moving hands and fingers became active five seconds before deciding to press the button, and they were able to predict whether subjects chose to use their left or right hand, based only on the data recorded from the (unconscious) brain.

The previous experiment was about measuring neural activity before conscious will of actual behavior. But if one can measure neural activation in the brain before conscious will, would it be possible to electrically stimulate those very areas and thus artificially induce an illusion of volitional behavior, without actual behavior, or vice versa, induce muscle movement without awareness of such behavior? In one experiment the researchers used special equipment capable of doing exactly that. They stimulated brain areas involved in conscious muscle intentions and as a result participants had a conscious sensation of movement of congruent limbs, although no actual movement was detected or measured. Furthermore, stimulating brain areas controlling actual muscle movement without any involvement in conscious awareness of the muscle movement, the participants did not report any muscle movement despite the fact that the congruent limbs did move. Thus, participants remained completely unaware that a movement occurred.

Whether we have free will or not, it is absolutely undisputed that we are unaware of so many things influencing our behaviour. What is even more worrisome, we are mostly unaware that we are unaware of those things. or let's put it this way: would you as a business decision-maker find it as a good idea to focusing solely on the conscious mind (“Luxembourg”; 0.00036%), base your business on what your customers, your colleagues or even yourself think about your marketing, product or what ever issue at hand? Or, would it be smart of you to focus also on the unconscious mind of your customers and employees (the rest of the globe; 99.99964%) and consequently raise the success rate through the roof? Sounds so self-evident that even the conscious mind can solve this brain-teaser. What do you think?

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