Transient Global Amnesia (Or how I learned we are automatons)

Radiolab aired an episode on loops a few weeks ago on which they chronicled the case of a woman who was hospitalized for what she thought was a stroke, but turned out to be a case of Transient Global Amnesia … meaning that her short term memory was resetting every two minutes … which led them to having the same conversation, looping over and over again, for nine and a half hours.  

Her daughter filmed the conversation in the hospital: 


 

When you watch this video, if you're paying attention, you'll notice that the conversation happens a couple of times. But if you listen to the Radiolab episode, they break it down, do some editing, and it becomes apparent that she's reacting in exactly the same way to the same questions every time they have the conversation.

Which leads them to question whether we have free will or whether our personalities are just made of chemicals sloshing around in reaction to stimuli … meaning that we're essentially machines with little control over our actions. Which is just fascinating enough and just terrifying enough to cause loss of sleep and strange self-experimentation.