Sunday, April 27, 2008

Belief in Free Will and Responsibility

This is a interesting experiment. It doesn't prove that we have free will. It does show that our beliefs have consequences. (profound I know) I think this is also related to categorizing addictions as a disease. I would bet that doing this makes someone more likely to continue in their addiction.

“We found that the more we reduced their belief in free will, the more they cheated.”

In the first test, conducted at the University of Utah, students were asked to read one of two passages by Nobel Prize-winning scientist Francis Crick. In the first, “he basically undermines belief in free will,” Schooler said. In the second, the subject does not come up.

The students were then asked to calculate the answers to a series of mathematical problems. They were told that, due to a programming glitch, the correct answer would appear on their computer screens as they were attempting to solve each equation. They were instructed to hit the space bar as soon as the answer appeared on the screen, which would cause it to disappear.

Which group was more honest? There wasn’t any contest. Students who read the anti-free-will essay were 45 percent less likely to press the space bar and thereby avoid cheating. Challenging their notion of personal control had immediate, and unwelcome, results. (Via this link)


paul maurice martin said...

The free will vs. determism argument has been and will remain unsettled because no one can verify by going back in time for a do-over to see if one could have done something different.

Furthermore, the strong form of free will belief - that, for example, we're all equally free to choose to accept the Lord Jesus Christ, as if it's just a coincidence that most people "freely choose" to embrace the tradition they just happened to grow up with - is countered by tons of evidence for external factors that limit whatever ability to choose we may have.

It seems odd that a belief that isn't justified should equate to higher morality - as though self deception produces virtue, when honesty is itself a virtue.

For me, doesn't compute. Nowadays so many studies are done by so many people and institutions that manage to get the results they want that imo, citing studies frankly ain't what it used to be...

Kaz Maslanka said...

The results indicate more about the human resistance to collusion than it shows an affinity to free will.