Mistaking Randomness for Free Will

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Mistaking Randomness for Free Will

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Title: Mistaking Randomness for Free Will
Author: Ebert, Jeffrey Paul; Wegner, Daniel M.

Note: Order does not necessarily reflect citation order of authors.

Citation: Ebert, Jeffrey P. and Daniel M. Wegner. 2011. Mistaking randomness for free will. Consciousness and Cognition 20(3): 965-71.
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Abstract: Belief in free will is widespread. The present research considered one reason why people may believe that actions are freely chosen rather than determined: they attribute randomness in behavior to free will. Experiment 1 found that participants who were prompted to perform a random sequence of actions experienced their behavior as more freely chosen than those who were prompted to perform a deterministic sequence. Likewise, Experiment 2 found that, all else equal, the behavior of animated agents was perceived to be more freely chosen if it consisted of a random sequence of actions than if it consisted of a deterministic sequence; this was true even when the degree of randomness in agents’ behavior was largely a product of their environments. Together, these findings suggest that randomness in behavior—one’s own or another’s—can be mistaken for free will.
Published Version: doi:10.1016/j.concog.2010.12.012
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Open Access Policy Articles, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#OAP
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:9029778
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