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Using Psychology to Lose Weight Means Knowing the Truth About Making Conscious Decisions

Posted Aug 13 2012 8:30am

You make a conscious decision, and then you do it.

How many times have you heard something like this when it came to losing your excess weight? Decide and start: start your diet, start the weight-loss program. Decide and stick to it: stick to your weight-loss regimen, stay on your diet.

You make a conscious decision, and then you do it.

No, that’s not true. That’s not the way it happens.

An experiment in 1983 on conscious intention and brain activity proved otherwise. In this experiment people were asked to choose when to move their index fingers. That’s it, just move their index finger. The researchers measured when each person moved her finger. They measured when she made a conscious decision to start the movement and they measured when the onset of the brain’s readiness potentials that prepared the movement occurred.

The results: The conscious decision preceded the act by about a quarter of a second. The brain’s readiness potentials occurred up to a full second before each person actually moved her finger.

Conclusion: The brain prepared for the finger movement before people made a conscious decision.

What does this mean for the weight-loss process? It definitely means that there is something going on in your brain that sets the stage for your conscious decisions? It’s far from the truth to say, “I decided and did it.” That’s not even true about moving your index finger.


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