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Journal Article

Citation

Genschow O, Rigoni D, Brass M. Conscious. Cogn. 2019; 70: 80-87.

Affiliation

Ghent University, Belgium.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2019, Elsevier Publishing)

DOI

10.1016/j.concog.2019.02.004

PMID

30856544

Abstract

The question of whether free will actually exists has been debated in philosophy for centuries. However, how belief in free will shapes the perception of our social environment still remains open. Here we investigate whether belief in free will affects how much intentionality we attribute to other people. Study 1a and 1b demonstrate a weak positive relation between the strength of belief in free will and the perceived intentionality of soccer players committing handball. This pattern even holds for behavior that is objectively not intentional (i.e., when the player touches the ball accidentally). Going one step further, in Study 2 we find a weak correlation between belief in free will and perceiving intentions in very abstract geometrical shapes. These findings suggest that whether individuals believe in free will or not changes the way they interpret others' behavior, which may have important societal consequences.

Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Language: en

Keywords

Belief in free will; Intention attribution; Interpersonal perception

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