You experience it to be within your power to stop reading this paragraph. Apparently, you freely decided to continue. Perhaps you are curious how it will unfold. But you strongly sense that you could have done otherwise; you could have stopped reading (and you still can). However, from what we know about the laws of nature, it is not clear how the brain could control a neural process that would result in different outcomes when starting from the same brain state. It is also unclear how your interest in the contents of this paragraph led to the neural process that culminated in you reading it.
Dr. Uri Maoz, who joined Chapman University in 2017 as an Assistant Professor of Computational Neuroscience at Crean College and at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Brain and Behavioral Sciences, investigates these and similar topics. His research lies at the intersection of volition, decision-making, and moral choice. He uses a combination of empirical techniques (e.g., EEG, intracranial recordings, behavioral studies) and theoretical modeling to develop a computational account of volition, with an emphasis on the decision-making processes that lead to voluntary action and on the role of consciousness in such processes. In particular, he uses machine-learning to carry out online, real-time, closed-loop analysis of neural data, as it is recorded. He is further interested in the legal, ethical, conceptual, and economic implications of this work.
Dr. Maoz earned a B.Sc. in computer science and general humanistic studies and a Ph.D. in neural computation from the Hebrew University. As part of his graduate studies he was a visiting student in the Weizmann Institute of Science and the Collège de France. He was then a postdoctoral scholar at Caltech and at the Cedars Sinai Medical Center. Later, he was a researcher at the Department of Neurosurgery at UCLA and then faculty at the Department of Psychology there. He is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Department of Anesthesiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine and at the Anderson School of Management at UCLA. He is also a Visiting Associate in Biology and Bioengineering at Caltech.