Mistaking Randomness for Free Will
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CitationEbert, Jeffrey P. and Daniel M. Wegner. 2011. Mistaking randomness for free will. Consciousness and Cognition 20(3): 965-71.
AbstractBelief 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.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:9029778
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