Bodis-Wollner I, 2008, "Pre-emptive perception" Perception 37(3) 462 – 478
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Abstract. How can an action to a target be selected without yet knowing what it is? Pre-emptive perception (PEP) is a framework which orders neuronal mechanisms in association with voluntary actions before an action is started and until it is completed. It is assumed that PEP serves the purpose of perception, but a conscious, perceptual identification of the goal is not obligatorily completed during the time period of PEP itself. The concept of PEP is that the brain pre-emptively optimizes an action plan to maximize eventual perception, even before being sure what the goal is. Experimental studies of voluntary saccadic eye movements are considered as prototypic activity within the framework of PEP. The core concept of pre-emption is that a particular saccade is selected while a large number of other possible actions are deselected. Pre-emptive computations include mechanisms associated with internal context and reward. Neurophysiological studies which show anatomically and functionally separate cortical and some subcortical neuronal groups in computing saccades are summarized. There is a potential relationship of PEP as a neurobiological framework and some philosophical concepts. Terms for processes between planning and action, such as intention, anticipation, and attention, are often incongruent in everyday language and in epistemology. It is proposed here that a scrutiny of these terms can be rigorously approached by temporal subdivision of PEP and conversely, clear definitions of these terms can lead to organized experimental designs of cognitive neurobiology. The temporal subdivision of PEP allows a critique of The Will in the definition of Schopenhauer and distinguishes it from the ‘free will’.
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