Friday, April 22, 2016

Do we have free will?

I don't think that what these researchers call "free will" is really what most people mean when they say we have free will. It seems to me that the automatic contrariness is the opposite of what we usually mean by free will.

Public Release: 29-Feb-2016
Do we have free will?
A study by UCSB psychologists explores how disbelief in free will corrupts intuitive cooperation
University of California - Santa Barbara


The results show that while people are intuitively cooperative, challenging their belief in free will corrupts this behavior and leads to impulsive selfishness. However, when given time to think, participants are able to override the inclination toward self-interest.

"Challenging a person's belief in free will corrupts the more automatic and intuitive mental processes," said corresponding author Protzko, a postdoctoral scholar in Schooler's META (Memory, Emotion, Thought, Awareness) Lab in UCSB's Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences. "Our study suggests that a challenge to an individual's belief in free will can shift this default mechanism -- at least temporarily -- to become intuitively uncooperative and cause an individual to act in their own self-interest." [I would say "perceived" self-interest, since the inclination to cooperation is in our self-interest.]


"Challenging a person's belief in free will did not seem to provide them with a conscious justification for uncooperative behavior," Protzko said. "If it did, we should have observed fewer contributions when people were given adequate time to think about their decision on the amount to contribute.

"It's very damaging to hear that we don't have free will," said Protzko. "Discounting free will changes the way we see things. Yet given time, we recover and go about our lives as though nothing were different."

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