Four experiments identify a tendency for people to believe that their own lives are more guided by the tenets of free will than are the lives of their peers. These tenets involve the a priori unpredictability of personal action, the presence of multiple possible paths in a person's future, and the causal power of one's personal desires and intentions in guiding one's actions. In experiment 1, participants viewed their own pasts and futures as less predictable a priori than those of their peers. In experiments 2 and 3, participants thought there were more possible paths (whether good or bad) in their own futures than their peers’ futures. In experiment 4, participants viewed their own future behavior, compared with that of their peers, as uniquely driven by intentions and desires (rather than personality, random features of the situation, or history)
...Philosophers have long speculated that the introspective feeling of free will provides the force behind people's belief in it. By placing heavy weight on our own introspections (but not those of others), we may find ourselves uniquely convinced of our own free will. In some ways, this conviction is likely to be liberating—endowing us with a greater feeling of power in our lives.
Friday, January 07, 2011
People believe they have more free will than others
Interesting observations from Pronin and Kuglera: