Friday, August 6, 2021

Folklore in 1000 societies: Communities with low tolerance towards antisocial behavior, captured by the prevalence of tricksters getting punished, are more trusting and prosperous today

Folklore. Stelios Michalopoulos and Melanie Meng Xue. NBER Working Paper No. 25430. January 2019, Revised January 2021.

Abstract: Folklore is the collection of traditional beliefs, customs, and stories of a community passed  through the generations by word of mouth. We introduce to economics a unique catalogue of oral traditions spanning approximately 1,000 societies. After validating the catalogue’s content by showing that the groups’ motifs reflect known geographic and social attributes, we present two sets of applications. First, we illustrate how to fill in the gaps and expand upon a group’s ethnographic record, focusing on political complexity, high gods, and trade. Second, we discuss how machine learning and human-classification methods can help shed light on cultural traits, using gender roles, attitudes towards risk, and trust as examples. Societies with tales portraying men as dominant and women as submissive tend to relegate their women to subordinate positions in their communities, both historically and today. More risk-averse and less entrepreneurial people grew up listening to stories where competitions and challenges are more likely to be harmful than beneficial. Communities with low tolerance towards antisocial behavior, captured by the prevalence of tricksters getting punished, are more trusting and prosperous today. These patterns hold across groups, countries, and second- generation immigrants. Overall, the results highlight the significance of folklore in cultural economics, calling for additional applications.

JEL No. N00,Z1,Z13

6 Concluding Remarks

Narratives are essential building blocks of our society. We introduce to economics a unique catalogue of oral traditions across approximately 1; 000 groups. After validating folkloreís content showing that episodes in a groupís oral tradition reáect its geographic and social attributes as articulated in the ethnographic record, we undertake a series of applications illustrating how to extract information from folklore. In the Örst set, we illustrate how to Öll in the gaps and expand upon a groupís ethnographic record. In the second set, we discuss how machine learning and human-classiÖcation methods can help shed light on ancestral norms. Our initial examination indicates a striking consistency between values derived from folklore and contemporary attitudes related to trust, risk-taking, and gender norms. Images and episodes in folklore appear to endure and, possibly, still shape how individuals perceive the world today. 

Next Steps

We view this study as a springboard for further research. The Önding that folklore-based measures of the economy and the polity correspond to what we know from ethnographers suggests that we can obtain more precise estimates of a groupís heritage by combining the two sources. Lowering the measurement error in the historical record will allow us to revisit and better understand our societiesílegacies and their consequences. One related idea is to use folklore to Öll in the EA and SCCS gaps for the universe of recorded traits along the lines described in Section 4. Moreover, one can utilize folklore to derive bilateral measures of cultural proximity, see Spolaore and Wacziarg (2009), or explore how di§erent geographical traits and historical events ináuence the content of oral traditions. For example, what do groups located in malaria-prone regions, fertile territories, or rugged terrains "talk" about? Similarly, what are the distinctive themes in the folklore of groups that have experienced disruptions from slavery, epidemics, forced migrations, and colonization? This approach would allow testing famous conjectures in anthropology including the "culture of honor" proposed by Goldschmidt and Edgerton in 1971 and "the original a­ uent society hypothesis" by Sahlins (1972).

 There is a long list of contemporary values and attitudes in regional and global surveys that we have not covered, including patience, aspirations, reciprocity, attitudes towards violence, strangers, the elderly, the community, the importance of imagination, obedience, independence, hard work, honesty, etc. We hope that the roadmap provided here can help trace these values in the respective oral traditions. Obtaining folklore-based measures of these attitudes may help us better understand the cultural traits that are stable over time.

Another avenue of future research relates to how motifs and concepts have traveled across oral traditions. Some motifs appear to be universal, whereas others are found in a handful of folklore traditions. Is there a pattern in the content of localized versus universal narratives? Moreover, the multiplicity of charactersíattributes in a given motif and oral tradition (at least as classiÖed by humans) may convey important information about the richness and the ambiguity of the charactersí personality. This within-oral tradition diversity in attitudes may provide a way to gauge the degree of áexibility in the norms transmitted intergenerationally. It would also be interesting to explore how the individual characteristics of those reading and classifying the motifs may systematically predict how a given motif is perceived. Finally, we posit that the degree of continuity in the narratives between contemporary childrenís books and the folktales and myths of the respective societies is a direct measure of the rate at which ancestral norms are intergenerationally transmitted.

 Given the versatility of folklore as a vehicle for obtaining a unique (and perhaps our only) view of our ancestral cultural heritage, we expect it to be useful to scholars interested in the historical origins of comparative development, social psychology, culture, and beyond.

Some people may frequently forget about their age and be horrified at those moments when they realise their age

What does feeling younger or older than one’s chronological age mean to men and women? Qualitative and quantitative findings from the PROTECT study. Serena Sabatini et al. Psychology & Health, Aug 5 2021.


Objective: We explored which factors are associated with subjective age (SA), i.e. feeling younger, the same as, or older than one’s chronological age, and whether these factors differ between men and women and between two age sub-groups.

Design: Cross-sectional study using qualitative and quantitative data for 1457 individuals (mean age= 67.2 years).

Main outcome measures: Participants reported how old they feel they are and provided comments in relation to their SA judgments.

Results: By using content analysis participants’ comments were assigned to 13 categories, grouped into three higher-order categories (antecedents of age-related thoughts, mental processes, and issues when measuring subjective age). SA may result from the interaction between factors that increase or decrease age-related thoughts and mental processes that individuals use to interpret age-related changes. Chi-squared tests show that individuals reporting an older SA are more likely to experience significant negative changes and to engage in negative age-related thoughts than individuals reporting an age-congruent SA or a younger SA. Women experience a more negative SA and more age-salient events than men.

Conclusion: Individuals reporting an older SA may benefit from interventions promoting adaptation to negative age-related changes. There is the need to eradicate negative societal views of older women.

Keywords: Ageingsubjective agefelt ageawareness of age-related changehealth promotion


This study identified thirteen factors related to SA judgments and tested whether the frequency with which individuals comment on these factors differs among individuals reporting a younger SA, an age-congruent SA, or an older SA; between age sub-groups; and between men and women. In line with our first hypothesis, when evaluating their SA participants considered, not only their health status, but also a variety of life events and psychosocial factors. Participants’ comments suggest that SA judgments emerge from the interaction between factors that facilitate or decrease age-related thoughts and several mental processes that people use to make sense of age-related changes or to decrease the emotional impact of negative changes. Use of these mental processes frequently results in positive evaluations of SA. In line with our second and third hypotheses, the factors that participants considered when reporting their SA differed among sub-samples. Participants reporting an older SA were more likely to be aware of changes and less likely to engage in activities, compared to participants reporting a younger SA or an age-congruent SA. In line with existing literature on SA, participants in the older age sub-group reported a younger SA compared to those in the younger age sub-group (Bordone et al., 2020). Women experienced more age-symbolic events, especially in the younger age sub-group, and reported a more negative SA than men.

Among the categories that we identified, awareness of changes (Bowling et al., 2005; Sabatini, Silarova, et al., 2020), poor physical health (Desrosiers et al., 2006), the experience of age-symbolic events, and some life circumstances were associated with participants reporting an older SA (Bordone & Arpino, 2016). Events such as retirement, menopause, birthdays, and bereavement, and life circumstances such as being a caregiver may have reminded participants of their position in their lifespan (Barrett, 2003; Bordone & Arpino, 2016; Brothers et al., 2016; Bytheway, 2009; Montepare, 1996a2009). The combination of levels of gains and losses experienced by older individuals may play a role in whether these changes are attributed to age. Indeed a recent study showed that individuals are more likely to attribute negative changes to ageing compared to positive changes (Rothermund et al., 2021). The interpretation of negative changes as being a consequence of older age may in turn result in an older SA. Indeed, evidence shows that those individuals that report higher levels of awareness of age-related losses (AARC losses) tend to report an older SA compared to those who experience fewer AARC losses (Brothers et al., 2019; Kaspar et al., 2019; Sabatini, Ukoumunne, Ballard, Brothers, et al., 2020).

As participants reporting an older SA were more likely to be aware of age-related changes, less likely to engage in adaptive behaviours or activities, and rated their health as being poor, an older SA may represent a legitimate reaction to significant and permanent losses (e.g. decrease functional and cognitive ability) (Sabatini, Ukoumunne, Ballard, et al., 2021). As the experience of AARC losses and of an older SA are related to poorer emotional and physical well-being (Mock & Eibach, 2011; Sabatini, Silarova, et al., 2020; Westerhof et al., 2014) and lower engagement in health-related and adaptive behaviours (Brothers & Diehl, 2017; Dutt et al., 2018; Montepare, 2020; Wilton-Harding & Windsor, 2021), the emotional well-being of individuals reporting an older SA could be enhanced through disengagement from unachievable goals (Wrosch et al., 2003) and acceptance of negative changes (Collins & Kishita, 2019). However, when individuals with an older SA experience potentially modifiable changes, more active coping strategies should be promoted in order to enable these individuals to continue engaging in enjoyable activities (Brandtstädter & Rothermund, 2002).

Some participants reported an age-congruent SA or even a younger SA despite experiencing negative age-related changes and negative life circumstances. This finding may be due to several reasons. First, these individuals may have experienced positive changes alongside negative ones (Sabatini, Ukoumunne, Ballard, Diehl, et al., 2020; Wilton-Harding & Windsor, 2021). Second, as those participants who reported a younger SA or an age-congruent SA perceived their health as good and were able to continue performing a variety of meaningful activities, the health changes they experienced may have been mild (Spuling et al., 2013) and not severe enough to prevent them from leading an active and independent life (Franke et al., 2017). Third, some participants may report a positive SA despite the experience of age-related losses due to the use of a variety of mental processes that enable them to perceive their situation in a more optimistic light (Heckhausen & Krueger, 1993). However, subjective evaluations of health can differ greatly from scores obtained with objective measures of health (Carstensen, 199219932006; Chan et al., 2007; Idler & Benyamini, 1997; Jylha et al., 2001). Due to the subjective nature of the concepts, SA may be more strongly associated with self-rated health compared to objective measures of health and future studies should test this. We were unable to test this in the current study as in 2019 the PROTECT study annual assessment did not include an objective measure of health. However, the assessment of comorbidity was included as part of the 2020 annual assessment of the PROTECT study; this will enable the authors to explore in future studies the associations of SA with self-rated health and comorbidity.

Among the mental processes identified in the current study, consistent with social comparison theory (Rickabaugh & Tomlinson-Keasey, 1997) and with temporal comparison theory (Ferring & Hoffmann, 2007), participants reported a younger SA when they compared themselves to people in worse health than themselves (Beaumont & Kenealy, 2004) or when they concluded that despite their increasing age they had not changed significantly. In line with resilience theory some participants reported a younger SA when they concluded that they did not match negative stereotypes of older individuals (Kotter-Grühn & Hess, 2012). Finally, some participants reported a younger SA when others attributed a younger age to them or when they spent time with younger people (Bordone & Arpino, 2016). In contrast, participants reported an older SA when they compared themselves with more healthy others, they felt they matched negative stereotypes of older individuals and/or they thought they had changed significantly compared to previous versions of themselves. This pattern of results emphasises the positive impact that eradicating negative age-related stereotypes at societal level and promoting more realistic age-related expectations and intergenerational contact, may have on individuals’ experiences of ageing (Levy, 2017). Intervention programs promoting positive and realistic age-related beliefs, in addition to healthy behaviours, are effective in promoting more positive experiences of ageing, healthier lifestyle (e.g. more engagement in physical activity), and better mental (e.g. reduction in depressive symptoms) and physical (e.g. better physical performance in terms of balance, gait speed, and chair rise) health (Beyer et al., 2019; Brothers & Diehl, 2017; Menkin et al., 2020).

When estimating their SA, both men and women reflected most frequently on the changes they had experienced in multiple domains (e.g. physical, cognitive, social) of their lives and on how such changes led to modifications in their lifestyle. However, as expected, we found some differences in the way in which men and women evaluate their own ageing (Antonucci et al., 2010; Barrett, 2005). Compared to men, women, especially in the older sub-group, were more likely to experience variability in their SA evaluations. As women also commented more frequently than men on the co-occurrence of positive and negative changes in multiple domains of their lives, the more frequent variability in SA reported by women may be due to them being more likely to experience a mix of positive (e.g. enjoyable social relationships) and negative (e.g. decreased health) age-related changes (Miche et al., 2014). Whereas women were more likely to reflect on age-symbolic events, men commented more frequently on whether their preserved strength enabled them to continue those activities they had initiated earlier in life. This pattern of results suggests that when evaluating their SA men are more likely to reflect on their daily performance whereas women are more influenced by age-salient events and social expectations rather than by their actual daily abilities.

Discrepancies in the way in which men and women experience ageing may be due to our society having different expectations for older men and women. In support of this Kornadt et al. (2013) showed that individuals aged 20 to 92 years attach different stereotypes to older men and women; older women are believed to be more religious, friendly, and engaged in leisure activities whereas men are believed to be more capable in financial and work-related tasks. The different expectations that our society has for older men and women may result in older men and women being treated differently, and this may explain why in our study women reported a more negative SA than men. Indeed, older women often become invisible in the public domain. For instance, among TV presenters, older men are distinguished whereas older women are frequently dismissed (Jermyn, 2013). In sum, our results highlight one more time how much our society -and men, in particular - need to learn to think differently about ageing women and how strategies aiming to eradicate negative age-related stereotypes (Levy, 2017) should give particular attention to negative stereotypes of older women.

Finally, although it was not a primary aim of the current study, participants’ comments outlined several sources of lack of validity and reliability when measuring SA with an unidimensional measure asking participants to specify how old they feel in general (Barrett, 2003). First, as different participants interpreted the SA question in distinct ways, answers to unidimensional measure of SA may not be comparable. Indeed, for instance, some participants reported their SA after reflecting on physical changes, whereas others on their mental abilities.

Second, as some participants reported that their SA fluctuates, assessing SA at one time point may oversimplify individuals’ experiences of ageing. Future studies could therefore adopt methodological designs that take into account the fluctuating nature of self-perceptions in older age (Armenta et al., 2018), for instance, by controlling for situational factors, such as levels of pain, that impact on SA (Sabatini, Ukoumunne, Ballard, Collins, et al., 2020), or by averaging individuals’ SA across several time points (Neupert & Bellingtier, 2017). Third, some participants experienced difficulty in reporting SA which arose from not being able to assign a specific number to SA. Asking individuals to report their SA on a scale ranging from ‘a lot younger than my age’ to ‘a lot older than my age’ may reduce difficulty in answering (Montepare, 1996b). Moreover, difficulty in reporting SA may underlie the difficulty of capturing the complexity of perceptions of ageing when using unidimensional measures. By collecting information about the coexistence of positive and negative experiences in individuals’ lives, multidimensional measures of SA may facilitate SA judgments (Kastenbaum et al., 1972; Turner et al., 2021).

The nature of our dataset places some limitations on our findings. First, all data were collected through self-report measures and descriptive analysis have not been conducted on objective indicators of health. Second, the sample included a majority of women and was predominantly white, with above average education and self-rated health. Among the 14757 participants that took part in the PROTECT study in 2019, only a small sub-group of participants answered the open-ended item (N = 1457); hence the opinions of the remaining participants are unknown. Third, some of the characteristics of study participants are slightly different from the remaining PROTECT participants. For instance, compared to participants included in the current study sample, those excluded from the study sample reported on average a younger SA. Fourth, SA was assessed with a single-item question rather than in a domain-specific format (Kastenbaum et al., 1972; Turner et al., 2021). This is a limitation of the current study as individuals can experience ageing differently in relation to different domains of their lives (e.g. physical and cognitive) which may lead to individuals reporting different subjective ages in relation to different domains of one’s life (Kaspar et al., 2019). Finally, views on ageing and age stereotypes were not taken into account when explaining SA and SA-related thoughts. However, views on ageing and age stereotypes may influence SA (Brothers et al., 20172020; Mock & Eibach, 2011; Sabatini, Ukoumunne, Ballard, et al., 2021).

It should be noted that ours was a large sample for content analysis. The large sample also made it possible to include quantitative data for all the identified categories and to compare frequencies among individuals reporting a younger SA, an age-congruent SA, or older SA; between age sub-groups; and between men and women. The examination of sex difference in SA enriched the scarce literature on factors underpinning sex differences in SA. To analyze data, we generated categories directly from the data; this is a strength of our study as it made it possible to explore the additional role that mental processes play in shaping individuals’ SA, going beyond what has been reported by previous studies (e.g. Giles et al., 2010) and providing targets for future health promoting interventions. For instance, as we found that individuals’ mental processes impact on the age their feel, targeting negative mental processes such as self-attribution of negative age stereotypes may help to enhance mental health in older age. It also made it possible to identify limitations related to the SA questionnaire that had not been considered before and that may find application in the development of a multidomain tool assessing SA.

On Libet et al.: The readiness potential (RP) may only be an “artifact of averaging” and that, when intention is measured using “tone probes,” the onset of intention is found much earlier and often before the onset of the RP

Conscious intention and human action: Review of the rise and fall of the readiness potential and Libet’s clock. Edward J. Neafsey. Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 94, September 2021, 103171.

Abstract: Is consciousness—the subjective awareness of the sensations, perceptions, beliefs, desires, and intentions of mental life—a genuine cause of human action or a mere impotent epiphenomenon accompanying the brain’s physical activity but utterly incapable of making anything actually happen? This article will review the history and current status of experiments and commentary related to Libet’s influential paper (Brain 106:623–664, 1983) whose conclusion “that cerebral initiation even of a spontaneous voluntary act …can and usually does begin unconsciously” has had a huge effect on debate about the efficacy of conscious intentions. Early (up to 2008) and more recent (2008 on) experiments replicating and criticizing Libet’s conclusions and especially his methods will be discussed, focusing especially on recent observations that the readiness potential (RP) may only be an “artifact of averaging” and that, when intention is measured using “tone probes,” the onset of intention is found much earlier and often before the onset of the RP. Based on these findings, Libet’s methodology was flawed and his results are no longer valid reasons for rejecting Fodor’s “good old commonsense belief/desire psychology” that “my wanting is causally responsible for my reaching.”.

Keywords: Readiness potentialBereitschaftspotentialIntentionDecisionFree willHard problemConsciousnessLibetKornhuberNeuroscienceEpiphenomenon

4. Discussion

4.1. Intention Before RP: Has the Ghost Returned?

If intentions precede the RP, does that mean that the “ghost in the machine” (Ryle, 1949) has returned and intentions are present without any brain activity? No. Even if the RP is plausibly only an artifact of averaging and even if tone probes have shown the onset of intentions takes place well before the onset of any RPs, that does not mean that nothing is going on in the brain when these intentions begin. The UCLA neurosurgeon Itzhak Fried and his coworkers recorded neuronal activity from depth electrodes implanted into the medial frontal lobe (SMA, pre-SMA, and ACC (anterior cingulate cortex)) during performance of the Libet clock task in “12 subjects with pharmacologically intractable epilepsy to localize the focus of seizure onset” (Fried, Mukamel, & Kreiman, 2011). Each depth electrode included nine microwires capable of recording single and multi-unit neuronal activity, and 760 units (254 single units and 496 multiunits) were recorded in the SMA, pre-SMA, and ACC of the 12 patients. As seen in Fig. 5A, they found “progressive neuronal recruitment over ~1500 ms before subjects report making the decision to move …[with a] progressive increase or decrease in neuronal firing rate, particularly in the supplementary motor area (SMA), as the reported time of decision was approached.” Much of this early neuronal activity took place in the 1500 ms preceding movement, but there were a number of neurons whose firing rates changed even earlier. And, as illustrated in Fig. 5B, in experiments in monkeys done in the lab of Mark Churchland by Lara, Cunningham, and Churchland (Jul. 2018) SMA neurons showed “preparatory and movement-related activity that covaried with reach direction,” in marked contrast to the human early RP’s lack of any movement specificity. So there is early, movement-specific neuronal activity during these early intentions.

Fig. 5

Fried, like Libet, found the W time was only about 0.2 s before the movement, but, as shown above in the studies from the labs of Matsuhashi and Hallett and Verbaarschot, W time utterly fails to capture when intention actually begins. Related to such early intentions, Miller and Schwarz (2014) comment that “At the start of each trial, it seems plausible that participants would already have a weak yet conscious urge to move within the next few seconds, simply because they know that their task is to make such movements. …In this scenario, the fact that brain activity appears to emerge before the conscious decision—i.e., before W—is merely an artifact of the experimenter’s requirement that the observer impose an arbitrary criterion for making a binary judgment about an inherently gradual process that underlies decision making.” In other words, the mere presence of the subjects in the experimental situation indicates that some form of intention is already and always present; the actual intention to “move now” (Searle’s (1980) “intention in action”) arises from and “is caused by this [earlier, pre-existing] prior intention” (Searle, 1980) to move sometime (but not now).8 In a sense, given the Libet-type experimental situation, it is not possible for the subject to be in an “intentionless” state from which a new, fully-formed intention arises, as when Athena was born as a fully formed adult from the head of Zeus. This makes it impossible, in principle, to even address the question of timing of mental and physical processes in a Libet-type experiment. And, as shown by tone probes, even the final intention to move now is not instantaneous or abrupt.

Lastly, as noted by Miller and Schwarz (2014), this same fact about intention being always and already present in experimental subjects also applies to the fMRI study by Soon, Brass, Heinze, and Haynes (2008) who found very early prefrontal activity as long as 10 s before the conscious decision times of their subjects. This early activity “predicted” whether the left or right index finger would be moved (57% accurate vs. 50% for chance)9 but this activity so long before movement likely had just as much to do with the intention NOT to move my left (or right) finger now that must also be present, especially in the frontal areas where brain damage leads to loss of frontal cortical inhibitory control over behavior (Malmo, 1942Pribram et al., 1964). Or, as suggested by Koenig-Robert and Pearson (2019), the early activity could be viewed “not in terms of unconscious decision processes …but rather by a process in which a decision (which could be conscious) is informed.” Guggisberg and Guggisberg (2013) expressed a similar view that “intention consciousness does not appear instantaneously but builds up progressively …[and] early neural markers of decision outcome are not unconscious but simply reflect conscious goal evaluation stages which are not final yet and therefore not reported with the clock method.”

5. Conclusions

5.1. The RP Is Not What It Seemed To Be

The “paradigm” (Kuhn, 1970). that the early RP indicates brain activity preparing for movement was and is beset by several important “anomalies” The first and perhaps most important anomaly is the RP’s dependence on averaging EEG potentials whose noise, when averaged, can reproduce the RP’s waveform. This was the point of attack for Eccles (1985)Ringo (1985)Stamm (1985)Schurger et al. (2012)Schmidt et al. (2016), and Maoz et al. (2019). The second anomaly is that an RP is also seen before involuntary or unconscious movements (Keller & Heckhausen, 1990) and even before decisions that involve no movement at all (Alexander et al., 2016). The third anomaly is the early RP’s lack of movement specificity, since very similar RPs occur before completely different movements, such as right hand vs. left hand (Haggard and Eimer, 1999Herrmann et al., 2008). Related to this is that the RPs do not differ before movements with completely different motives and intentions, as seen in the RPs in the Free Wally and Object Tasks (Verbaarschot et al., 2019). The fourth anomaly is the onset time of the RP, which, for the exact same movement, has an almost perfect linear relationship to the interval between movements (Verleger et al., 2016). And the last anomaly is the absence of the RP before deliberate choice movements (Maoz et al., 2019). All of these facts argue against the early RP having anything to do with preparation for a specific movement or the voluntary intention to move and make any comparison of RP onset times and W times pointless. Whether the RP starts before (Libet) or after (tone probes) intention means nothing because the RP’s relation to upcoming movement is an illusion.

5.2. Intentions Begin Much Earlier Than Libet’s W Times

The results from the labs of Matsuhashi and Hallett (2008) and Verbaarschot et al., 2016Verbaarschot et al., 2019 using tone probes to measure intention clearly suggest that intention is not an all-or-none phenomenon but a gradual process that begins much earlier than estimated by Libet’s W time and in many cases before the onset of the RP. But is Libet’s clock time W intention the same as the intention detected by tone probes? Matsuhashi and Hallett (2008) told their subjects to make the movement “as soon as you think about the next movement,” to ignore the tone if they are “not thinking about the next movement,” and to stop the movement “if you hear the tone after you have started thinking about the next movement or making the movement.” So these instructions clearly identify intention to move with “thinking about the next movement.” In the two studies from Verbaarschot’s lab, the instructions explicitly said to “veto their act if they were intending to act at the time they heard the beep” so “intention to move” very clearly meant “intending to act at the time.” Both labs had similar results, with tone probe intentions beginning early and even sometimes before the onset of the RP, so the small differences in the language of the instructions given to the subjects (“thinking about the next movement” vs. “intending to act at the time”) do not seem significant and are both roughly equivalent to the variety of terms Libet’s study used for reporting the time of “conscious awareness of ‘wanting’ to perform a given self-initiated movement,” which was “also described as an “urge’ or ‘intention’ or ‘decision’ to move” (Libet et al., 1983). So it would seem that the subjects in the different labs had the same concept of “intention” and that tone probes were a more sensitive way to measure the presence of intention, forcing subjects to attend to even the slightest inkling or trace of intention.