Free Will as Advanced Action Control for Human Social Life and Culture

  title={Free Will as Advanced Action Control for Human Social Life and Culture},
  author={Roy F. Baumeister and A. William Crescioni and Jessica L. Alquist},
Free will can be understood as a novel form of action control that evolved to meet the escalating demands of human social life, including moral action and pursuit of enlightened self-interest in a cultural context. That understanding is conducive to scientific research, which is reviewed here in support of four hypotheses. First, laypersons tend to believe in free will. Second, that belief has behavioral consequences, including increases in socially and culturally desirable acts. Third… 
Bad is freer than good: Positive–negative asymmetry in attributions of free will
Five experiments showed that people attributed higher freedom of will to negative than to positive valence, regardless of morality or intent, for both self and others, suggesting that free will underlies laypersons' sense-making for accountability and change under negative circumstances.
Free Will in Behavior: Believing Makes It So
Free will is not an illusion, and its belief is widespread and has important consequences, for example, in self-control. The research findings apparently show that the intention to move follows
Lost in the crowd: Conformity as escape following disbelief in free will
Belief in free will is founded on the idea that people are responsible for their behavior. People who believe in free will derive meaning in life from these beliefs. Conformity refers to succumbing
Free Will Without Metaphysics
Free will is the ability to transform thoughts and desires into actions, and this ability to act freely is presumed to underlie people’s practice of moral praise and blame, as well society’s practice
Free, connected, and meaningful: Free will beliefs promote meaningfulness through belongingness ☆
Abstract Previous research suggests that belief in free will helps to inhibit anti-social impulses. As a result, belief in free will enables the creation of and participation in society.
Are Free Will Believers Nicer People? (Four Studies Suggest Not)
  • D. Crone, N. Levy
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Social psychological and personality science
  • 2019
The findings suggest that the FWB–moral behavior association (and accompanying concerns regarding decreases in FWBs causing moral degeneration) may be overstated.
Free will perceptions and religion in patients with schizophrenia and their caregivers
This manuscript explores how free will perceptions relate to religious beliefs and values and psychological functioning in patients with schizophrenia and their family members. The paper begins with
The weirdness of belief in free will
This paper looks at the folk concept of free will and its critical assessment in the context of recent psychological research and finds that unlike Lithuanian, Chinese, Hindi and Mongolian lexical expressions of "free will" do not refer to the same concept free will.
Towards a motivational alternative to the strength model of self-control
Self-control is an area of research that has received increased attention over the last couple of decades. Failures of self-control, in particular, are held to be the underlying cause of a number of
Freeing or freezing decisions? Belief in free will and indecisiveness
Abstract Does belief in free will free or freeze decision-making? The existentialist hypothesis, rooted in views of free will as a source of anguish and hesitation, would predict that free will


Virtue, personality, and social relations: self-control as the moral muscle.
This work analyzes vice, sin, and virtue from the perspective of self-control theory and suggests the analogy of a moral muscle as an appropriate way to conceptualize virtue in personality.
Prosocial Benefits of Feeling Free: Disbelief in Free Will Increases Aggression and Reduces Helpfulness
The current results suggest that disbelief in free will reduces helping and increases aggression, and does not speak to the existence of free will.
Rationality in Action
The study of rationality and practical reason, or rationality in action, has been central to Western intellectual culture. In this invigorating book, John Searle lays out six claims of what he calls
The Value of Believing in Free Will
The study of whether inducing participants to believe that human behavior is predetermined would encourage cheating suggests that the debate over free will has societal, as well as scientific and theoretical, implications.
Ego depletion: is the active self a limited resource?
The results suggest that the self's capacity for active volition is limited and that a range of seemingly different, unrelated acts share a common resource.
Autonomous agents : from self-control to autonomy
Autonomous Agents addresses the related topics of self-control and individual autonomy. "Self-control" is defined as the opposite of akrasia-weakness of will. The study of self-control seeks to
The Effects of Social Identification on Individual Effort under Conditions of Identity Threat and Regulatory Depletion
The current study examined whether the influence of social identification on effort exertion in identity-threatening situations could be altered through a prior engagement in an effortful task (i.e.
Self-control and accommodation in close relationships: an interdependence analysis.
A pilot study and 3 additional studies examined the hypothesis that self-control promotes individuals' ability to accommodate in response to a romantic partner's potentially destructive behavior, finding that dispositional self- control was positively associated with accommodative tendencies in all 4 investigations.
Violence restrained: Effects of self-regulation and its depletion on aggression
Aggressive impulses arise from many factors, but they are usually held in check by social norms for self-control. Thus, the proximal cause of aggression is often failure of self-restraint. In five
Resistance to persuasion as self-regulation: Ego-depletion and its effects on attitude change processes
Abstract Counterarguing persuasive messages requires active control processes (e.g., generation and application of contradictory information) similar to those involved in other forms of