Free will is about choosing: The link between choice and the belief in free will

Gilad Feldman, Roy F. Baumeister, Kin Fai Ellick Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Expert opinions have yielded a wide and controversial assortment of conceptions of free will, but laypersons seem to associate free will more simply with making choices. We found that the more strongly people believed in free will, the more they liked making choices, the higher they rated their ability to make decisions (Study 1), the less difficult they perceived making decisions, and the more satisfied they were with their decisions (Study 2). High free will belief was also associated with more spontaneous associating of choice with freedom, and with the perception of actions as choices. Recalling choices (Study 3) and making choices (Study 4) led to a stronger endorsement of the belief in free will, with an additional effect for the level of choice involved. These findings suggest that the everyday social reality of beliefs about free will is a matter of how people think and feel about choice. ?? 2014 Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-245
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume55
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Choice
  • Free will
  • Freedom

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