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At what point does a conscious thought begin?

With the help of brain imaging, scientists can see which parts of the brain light up. They also know that our consciousness can be altered with chemicals or surgeries.

But they remain uncertain about the precise stage at which a firing neuron becomes a conscious thought.

Scientists continue seeking a better understanding of the relationship between unconscious and conscious experiences. There are some things, like breathing and maintaining a regular heart beat that go on without conscious thought. Researchers are trying to learn how these unconscious actions are wired differently from the actions that require conscious thought.

Even though we like to think we make our own decisions, there is even some research that indicates we might not even do that. One study found that by using brain scanners, researchers were able to predict how a person would act a full seven seconds before the person knew a decision had been made. However, researchers acknowledged that the study was best suited to a simple test that involved pushing a button, as opposed to a more complicated decision such as accepting a job.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.