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Diverging lay intuitions about concepts related to free will in arbitrary and deliberate decisions

Gavenas, Jake and Hieronymi, Pamela and Maoz, Uri (2022) Diverging lay intuitions about concepts related to free will in arbitrary and deliberate decisions. Consciousness and Cognition, 106 . Art. No. 103434. ISSN 1053-8100. doi:10.1016/j.concog.2022.103434.

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Philosophical accounts of free will frequently appeal to deliberate, consequential, and purposeful decisions. However, some recent studies have found that laypeople attribute more freedom to arbitrary than to deliberate decisions. We hypothesized that these differences stem from diverging intuitions about concepts surrounding free will—especially freedom, being in control, and the ability to decide otherwise. In two studies, we found that laypeople attributed high levels of free will, freedom, and control to both arbitrary and deliberate decisions. However, subjects surprisingly attributed reduced ability to decide otherwise when faced with an “easy” decision with one clearly superior option. Furthermore, laypeople attributed greater free will, freedom, and control to “easy” than “hard” decisions with no clearly superior option. Our results suggest that laypeople have diverging intuitions about these different, free-will-related concepts. Therefore, a scientific account of free will may require integrating results from studies on different types of decision-making.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Gavenas, Jake0000-0002-8365-2594
Hieronymi, Pamela0000-0002-7084-5581
Maoz, Uri0000-0002-7899-1241
Additional Information:This publication was made possible in part through the support of a joint grant from the John Templeton Foundation and the Fetzer Institute (Consciousness and Free Will: A Joint Neuroscientific-Philosophical Investigation (John Templeton Foundation #61283; Fetzer Institute, Fetzer Memorial Trust #4189)). The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation or the Fetzer Institute.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
John Templeton Foundation61283
Fetzer Institute4189
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20230103-818063100.45
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:118638
Deposited By: Research Services Depository
Deposited On:07 Feb 2023 20:18
Last Modified:07 Feb 2023 20:18

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