Gilad Feldman - belief in free will

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  • 1. Cognition and Consequences of the Belief in Free Will PhD Thesis Defense Gilad Fili Feldman
  • 2. Outline Ch. Purpose Empirics 1 Background and literature review Pretest 2 Cognition : Choice and the Belief in Free Will 2 studies 2 experiments 3 Cognition : ContextValence and FreeWill Attributions 6 experiments 4 Consequences : Belief in FreeWill and performance 3 studies 5 Summary 3
  • 3. ConsequencesCognition Belief in Free WillChoice Performance - Self-Control + + + Context Valence + Thesis framework
  • 4. Cognition Belief in Free WillChoice Performance Self-Control + Context Valence + - Chapter 2 Consequences + + Choice <-> Belief in Free Will Chapter 2
  • 5. Cognition Free Will Attributions Choice Performance Self-Control + Context Valence + - Chapter 3 Consequences + + Context valence -> FW Attributions Chapter 3
  • 6. Cognition Belief in Free WillChoice Performance Self-Control + Context Valence + - Chapter 4 Consequences + + Belief in free will -> Outcomes Chapter 4
  • 7. Contributions  Establishing theoretical and empirical links between :  The concept of free will and concepts of choice and responsibility in laypersons' cognition.  The belief in free will and performance.  Integration of theories from management, cognitive/social-psychology and experimental philosophy on agentic beliefs. 8
  • 8. Free will debated for 2500 years... What's new? Rather than debating the existence of free will… The psychology approach :  Laypersons’ understanding & attributions of free will  The belief in free will  Cognition  Consequences Epicurus Democritus Xunzi 荀子 Akiva BenYosef 9
  • 9. What is "Free Will"? Many definitions, many perspectives. A recent effort in integration has led to :  “The capacity to perform free actions” (Haggard et al., 2010)  Free actions - the acting agent could have chosen to do otherwise (Baumeister, 2008a PPS ; Kane, 1996, 2002, Books ; Monroe & Malle, 2010, RPP)  availability of alternative options  capacity to freely choose among those options without internal or external coercion 10
  • 10. What is a “Belief in Free Will” (BFW)? Belief = Mental representation of the estimate for the likelihood that a certain statement is true or not (Wyer & Albarracín, 2004, PsycBull) Belief in Free Will = The extent to which one endorses the statement that free will exists 11
  • 11. Belief in FW and other constructs (Pretest) Conclusion:  Belief in free will as a separate construct  Related to self control/efficacy/esteem N = 83 MTurks 12
  • 12. Cognition Belief in Free WillChoice Performance Self-Control + Context Valence + - Chapter 2 Consequences + + Choice <-> Belief in Free Will Chapter 2
  • 13. Most references to Free Will were mainly about... 14
  • 14. Laypersons view of FW : Choice  Monroe & Malle (2010, RevPhilPyc) asked open-ended questions on what having free will means  "the core of people’s concept of free will is a choice [...] free from internal or external constraints".  Stillman, Baumeister & Mele (2011, PhilPsyc) asked participants to rate experiences as free/not-free. Free experiences were those involving:  Conscious reflection / having/making a choice  Social action-control / Responsibility 15
  • 15. FreeWill <-> Choices / Decisions Two correlational studies  How is the choice-freewill link reflected in people's everyday cognition?  Belief in free will leading to...  Seeing life as filled with choices  Associating choice with freedom  More positive attitudes towards decision situations and higher satisfaction with choices made 16
  • 16. Belief in Free Will <-> Choice Study 1 98 HK students  Time 1 : Belief in free will scale (FWD, Rakos et al., 2008)  Time 2 (two months) :  Choice cognitive association task (Stephens et al., 2011, JPSP)  Choice scales  Results : Higher belief in free will...  Associate choice with freedom (r = .25*)  Higher preference for having choice (r = .26**, ΔR2 = .07*)  Higher perceived ability to make choices (r = .38***, ΔR2 = .13**) 17
  • 17. Belief in Free Will <-> Choice Study 2 63 MTurks  Belief in Free Will scales (FWD & FAD+)  Recall & rate task 4 scenarios : last experience of... purchasing electronics, watching television, eating breakfast and voting (Savani et al., 2010, PsycSci ; study 4b)  Describe the situation  Is the action involve a choice? (vs. no choice)  Choice ratings : difficulty, enjoyment, satisfaction 18
  • 18. Belief in Free Will <-> Choice Study 2 Results : Those with higher belief in free will...  Perceive their actions to be choices  Controls : Perceived importance, number of alternatives  Effect: r = .49*** to .56***, ΔR2=.25**  Perceive choices as less difficult (FWD: r = -.27* to -.34**)  Higher satisfaction with outcomes (FWD: r = .27* to .29*)  Higher enjoyment in making choices (FAD+ r = .33*) 19
  • 19. Choice -> Belief in free will Two experiments  How does the thought/act of choosing affect the belief in free will?  Cognition: "I chose, therefore I'm free"  Empirically - Recalling choices / Making choices would activate the belief in free will
  • 20. Choice -> Belief in free will Study 3  114 MTurks  Choice Manipulation (adaptation Savani & Rattan, 2012, PsycSci)  Recall choices versus actions (control): 5 things x morning/noon/evening/night the day before  Measure belief in free will (FWD & FAD+ scales) 21
  • 21. Choice -> Belief in free will Study 3 22
  • 22. Choice -> Belief in free will Study 4  166 MTurks  Choice Manipulation (adaptation Vohs et al., 2008, JPSP)  High choice : 4 pens  Low choice : 2 pens  No choice : Rating pens  No choice : Describing pens  Control : Reporting weather  Measure belief in free will (FWD & FAD+ scales) 23
  • 23. Choice -> Belief in free will Study 4 : General 24
  • 24. Choice -> Belief in free will Study 4 : Self 25
  • 25. Summary 26
  • 26. Conclusion 27
  • 27. Cognition Belief in Free WillChoice Performance Self-Control + Context Valence + - Chapter 3 Consequences + + Context valence -> FW Attributions Chapter 3
  • 28. Laypersons' view of FW : Responsibility  Stillman, Baumeister & Mele (2011, PhilPsyc) rated a list of experiences as free or not free.  Free experiences were experiences that were related to :  Conscious reflection / Choice  Social action-control / Responsibility 29
  • 29. Friedrich Nietzsche (1886/1966 ; Twilight of the Idols) “Men were considered ‘free’ so that they might be judged and punished…” 30
  • 30. Societies and Legal Systems - USA as an example  Legal judgments based on assessment of free will (Greene & Cohen, 2004 ; Roskies, 2006)  Legal accountability - requires proof that the person 'could have done otherwise' (Burns & Bechara, 2007)  No external coercing influences (e.g. having a gun to the person’s head)  Not due to uncontrollable urges (e.g. temporary insanity)  Contract valid only if two sides have entered out of their own free will (Cohen, 1933) 31
  • 31. Freedom <-> Responsibility  “If I’m not free – it’s not my fault, I am not to blame for my actions” leading to :  "If bad happened, someone needs to be held accountable. Therefore, the related agent has to have free will" 32
  • 32. Freedom of Will <-> Responsibility Theoretical models of blame attribution... (Alicke,2000,PsycBull ; Cushman,2008,Cognition ; Malle, Guglielmo & Monroe, 2012/Forthcoming,PsycInq) 33
  • 33. Theoretical model Freedom of Will <-> Responsibility 34
  • 34. Experiment 1 Recall task  212 HK students  IV: Situation recall task, 2×2: self versus other as agent, and negative versus positive  DV:  whether the person (self or other) “could have chosen to act differently in that situation”.  if the two people “were to face the same situation again” whether the actor “would be able to choose a different course of action that would lead to a different outcome”  Agentic counterfactuals (adaptation of Pronin & Kugler, 2010, PNAS)  Predictability (adaptation of Pronin & Kugler, 2010, PNAS) 36
  • 35. Experiment 1 37
  • 36. Experiment 2 Fixed situation, outcome valence  214 MTurks  IV : Asian Disease scenario, risky and nonrisky option.  Pursuing riskier option. 2x2, positive versus negative outcome, self versus other.  DV:  Current situation FW attribution  Future situation FW attribution 38
  • 37. Experiment 2 - Manipulation The scenario :  ([You/Frank] [are/is] the president of a country and [you were/he was] facing a critical dilemma. A dangerous new disease has been discovered. [You/Frank] were told by leading world experts that without medicine 600,000 people will die from this disease. In order to save these people a medicine must be developed but unfortunately only one of two types of medicine can be made.  If Medicine A is developed - 200,000 people will be saved. If Medicine B is developed - there is a 1/3 chance (33.33%) that 600,000 people will be saved and a 2/3 chance (66.66%) that no one will be saved.). Manipulation:  Positive outcome : “[You/Frank] approved the development of medicine B, and as a result – 600,000 were saved”.  Negative outcome: “ [You/Frank] approved the development of medicine B, and as a result – no one was saved”. 39
  • 38. Experiment 2 40
  • 39. Experiment 3: Fixed situation & outcome, framing valence  210 MTurks  IV : Asian Disease scenario, risky and nonrisky option.  Pursuing nonrisky option. 2x2, positive versus negative framing, self versus other.  DV:  Current situation FW attribution  Future situation FW attribution 41
  • 40. Experiment 3 - Manipulation Positive frame:  “If Medicine A is developed - 200,000 people will be saved. If Medicine B is developed - there is a 1/3 chance (33.33%) that 600,000 people will be saved and a 2/3 chance (66.66%) that no one will be saved. [You/Frank] approved the development of medicine A. Following the development of the medicine you approved the lives of 200,000 of those people were saved.”. Negative frame:  “If Medicine A is developed - 400,000 people will be killed. If Medicine B is developed - there is a 1/3 chance (33.33%) that no one will be killed and a 2/3 chance (66.66%) that 600,000 people will be killed. [You/Frank] approved the development of medicine A. Following the development of the medicine you approved the lives of 400,000 of those people were lost.”] 42
  • 41. Experiment 3 43
  • 42. Experiment 4: Game paradigm  210 MTurks  IV : Prisoner's dilemma game theory scenario, cooperation versus defection.  2x2, positive versus negative action, self versus other.  DV:  Current situation FW attribution  Future situation FW attribution  Predictability (adaptation of Pronin & Kugler, 2010, PNAS) 44
  • 43. Experiment 4 - Manipulation "You are attending a social gathering where you and a friend of yours were chosen to play a game together. In this game, you and your friend both need to choose between two possible choices to win a cash prize. You and your friend can either choose option 1 or option 2.  Both choose option 1: both get a payoff of 45US$.  Both choose option 2: both get a payoff of 15US$.  If you choose option 2 but your friend chooses option 1, you will get a payoff of 75US$, but your friend will receive nothing (0US$).  Likewise, if you choose option 1 but your friend chooses option 2, then you receive nothing (0US$) and your friend receives the 75US$." 45
  • 44. Experiment 4 46
  • 45. The effect - Current situation FWAStudy1 Study2 Study3 Study4 47
  • 46. The effect - Future situation FWAStudy1 Study2 Study3 Study4 48
  • 47. The effect - alternatives / predictability Study1 Study1 Study4 49
  • 48. Experiment 5: Addressing alternative explanations  Is it driven by "Bad stronger than good"? (Baumeister et al., 2001)  If stronger perceived freer & bad stronger than good --> bad freer than good  Is stronger perceived freer?  Is it driven by "Should have chosen otherwise?"  Is should=could? 50
  • 49. Experiment 5: Design  178 HK students  Similar design to Exp. 3 - Asian Disease  2x3, positive versus negative framing, number of lives 6, 60, 600 (more lives at stake = stronger)  DV:  Freedom to choose otherwise  Should have chosen otherwise 51
  • 50. Experiment 5 Strong = Less free Meaning : Not because "Bad stronger than good" Bad still freer than good Could ≠ Should 52
  • 51. Experiment 6: Reverse causality  79 HK students  Manipulating level of coercion (Woolfolk, Doris and Darley, 2006, Cognition)  DV:  Perceived valence (Positive/Negative)  Responsibility  Guilt 53
  • 52. Experiment 6 Testing reverse causality 54
  • 53. Experiment 6 Testing reverse causality 55
  • 54. Summary 56
  • 55. Conclusion Bad is Freer than Good Free will attribution triggered when bad happens 57
  • 56. Cognition Belief in Free WillChoice Performance Self-Control + Context Valence + - Chapter 4 Consequences + + Belief in free will -> Outcomes Chapter 4
  • 57. Freedom -> Performance?  Motivation : “If I’m not free – why bother?” "Who cares? I didn't choose this" (Fujita, 2011, PsycBull)  Perceived ability : “If I’m not free – I can’t really choose and make decisions!” (Chapter 2)  Learning/Responsibility/ Accountability: “If I’m not free – it’s not my fault, I am not to blame for poor performance" (Chapter 3) 59 Consequences Belief in Free Will Performance Academic ; Job + 59
  • 58. Interaction : Self Control & BFW  Ways BFW affects self-control:  Initiating self-control strategies  Influencing the motivation to exert self-control  Influence the "resource/energy pool" from which self-control draws 60 Consequences Belief in Free Will Performance Self-Control ++
  • 59. BFW - Academic Performance Study 1 : Design  614 HK students  IV : Time 1 (beginning of semester) - BFW scale (Rakos etal, 2008), self-control scale (Tangney et al., 2004)  DV : Time 2 (throughout semester) - Course performance -  mid-term + finals + participation + attendance + research component + group project 61
  • 60. BFW - Academic Performance Study 1 : Results  BFW-SC Interaction : 62
  • 61. BFW - Job Performance Study 2 : Design 218 MTurkers  Working on MTurk = 22.05 months (SD = 14.91)  # of tasks = 6,549.79 (SD = 16,187.37)  Hours/week = 17.45 (SD = 20.65)  Main source of income: 33.9% (N = 74)  IV : BFW scale (Rakos etal, 2008), SC scale (Tangney et al., 2004),  Controls: Job-autonomy scale (Hackman & Oldham, 1980), Job self efficacy scale (Spreitzer, 1995).  DV : Job performance -  Approval rate provided by MTurk / Self report approval rate  Self assessment scale (Pruden & Reese, 1972) 63
  • 62. Study 2 : Regression 64
  • 63. Study 2 : Results, interaction plot Pattern differences?  Culture freedom  Age  Task choice  Task difficulty 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 Low Self Control High Self Control Approvalrate Low FW High FW 65
  • 64. BFW - National performance Study 3  Sample : WVS (2008), 2nd wave 2005-2007; Countries : N = 42 to 50.  IV : National aggregate of belief in free will (2 items)  Controls: Gini coefficient, political freedom, etc. (Human Development Index 2006 measures)  DV: Per capita GDP (=GDP/population); Workforce productivity (=GDP/workforce)  Results : Higher BFW average <-> better PPP and labor productivity (ΔR2 = .14 / .15) 66
  • 65. Summary 67
  • 66. Conclusion 68
  • 67. In summary  Free will as a core concept in modern society and in human psyche  Diverse methods, diverse samples, diverse contexts  FW cognitively linked to Choice / Responsibility  BFW predicts real outcomes (individual/society) & interacts with self-control 69
  • 68. ConsequencesCognition Belief in Free WillChoice Performance - Self-Control + + + Context Valence + Thank you