To jump or not to jump: The Bereitschaftspotential required to jump into 192-meter abyss [article]

Marius Nann, Leonardo G. Cohen, Lüder Deecke, Surjo R. Soekadar
2018 bioRxiv   pre-print
Self-initiated voluntary acts, such as pressing a button, are preceded by a negative electrical brain potential, the Bereitschaftspotential (BP), that can be recorded over the human scalp using electroencephalography (EEG). Up to now, the BP required to initiate voluntary acts has only been recorded under well-controlled laboratory conditions. It is thus not known if this form of brain activity also underlies motor initiation in possible life-threatening decision making, such as jumping into a
more » ... 92-meter abyss, an act requiring extraordinary willpower. Here, we report BP before self-initiated 192-meter extreme bungee jumping across two semi-professional cliff divers (both male, mean age 19.3 years). We found that the spatiotemporal dynamics of the BP is comparable to that recorded under laboratory conditions. These results, possible through recent advancements in wireless and portable EEG technology, document for the first time pre-movement brain activity preceding possible life-threatening decision making.
doi:10.1101/255083 fatcat:mebexxuljrgllgoify2gz2ig4e