ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2012, Vol. 20 ›› Issue (11): 1869-1878.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2012.01869

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The Empirical Psychological Perspectives on Free Will

DONG Rui;PENG Kai-Ping;YU Feng;ZHENG Ruo-Qiao   

  1. (Department of Psychology, Tsinghua University, Beijng 100084, China)
  • Received:2012-02-16 Online:2012-11-15 Published:2012-11-01
  • Contact: PENG Kai-Ping

Abstract: Free will is one of the oldest and most debated topics in the history of philosophy. Both positivist philosophy and humanist philosophy considered the problem of free will to be the most difficult issues to untangle. In recent years, psychologists have begun to apply the methods of empirical science to study the psychological mechanism, impact and expression of free will. The general consensus is that free will is an illusion, but people still believe in its existence. Free will has been found closely related to moral responsibility, moral behavior, creativity, self-esteem and subjective well-being. Future research should define free will in more psychological sense, and to explore the generation mechanism and function of free will in everyday life. Theoretical and methodological advances are need to extend our understanding of free will and its psychological impacts to human being.

Key words: free will, experimental philosophy, determinism