In the past decade, psychologistshave begun investigating the cognitive and behavioral effects of belief in freewill and moral responsibility. (1949)Beliefs about free willcan appear to be an abstract metaphysical or even theologicalopinion with little direct relevance to social life. (baumeister- Monroe)In contrast to this, research over the past decade hasshown that these beliefs are interconnected with other personality traits andhave behavioral and social consequences.Various experimental studies have been conducted based onmanipulating people into believing or disbelieving in free will. Researchershave checked various measures of free will against other personality traits. Baumeister et al.
(2009) suggestedthat people who believe in free will exhibit a higher prosocial and altruisticbehaviour. According to Baumeister (2008), believing in freewill increases one’s motivation and willingness to make efforts, thereforeresulting in higher self-control. This argument has as well been supported byrecent electroencephalography studies that showed that inducing disbelief infree will changes the neural processes underlying voluntary action. (Rigoni et al., 2011) There are several ways researchershave studied the correlates and consequences of believing in free will. Measurementand experimental manipulation have been used. It is beneficial for both to becombined, because measurement furnishes insight into genuine and presumablystable individual differences, while experimental manipulation makes itpossible to establish causality.
Fromrandomly assigning participants to hear a sequence that affirmed the reality offree will, or denied and rejected that reality, or expressed scientific facts irrelevant to free will. (Vohs and Schooler, 2008).Or having participants read those statements and restate them in their ownwords. (Alquist, Ainsworth, Baumeister, Stillman, & Daly, 2010).To measure free will belief, researches have mostlyrelied on either the Free Will and Determinism Plus Scale (FAD+; Paulhus , 2011) or the Free Will and Determinism Scale (FWDS; Rakos, Laurene,Skala, & Slane, 2008). These are the most popular methods.
As in many cases, thebest method for getting reliable outcomes is considered to be relying onpsychometrically validated full scales, even though there exist simpler methodsthat can be useful as well. Moreover, other approaches, like one-item ortwo-item questions about believing in free will for example, can be used insome cases. However, there exists no evident agreement on what precisely theconstruct of free will is, though there has been some work that has gottencloser to the understanding of this field (Monroe & Malle, 2010). The results coming from the research regarding our beliefin free will certainly have societal, scientificand theoretical, implications. (91974)Legalsystems in societies are based on the lay theory that individuals have thecontrol to act on the basis of their own free will, and as a result can bejudged responsible and punishable for their own actions. Are these consequenceswhat makes the question of believing in free will essential? Why most peopletend to believe they have free will and how that affects their behavior shouldbe further investigated.
As social beings with limited resources,humans face a fundamental adaptive challenge to suppress selfish behaviour andpromote group cooperation and coordination (Haidt & Kesebir, 2010; Henrichet al., 2006). This consists with the view that the evolved purpose offree will (and its social function) is to aid the human society in the form ofculture. It can only function if people behave properly and comply with itsrules. Belief in free will is a steady dimension of individualdifferences as well as an adaptable opinion subject on influence andfluctuation.
Meanwhile, researchers should further investigate the fluctuationsand variations in terms of better understanding the influence of personalbeliefs in free will on how people behave, feel, and think.