Free will in everyday life: Autobiographical accounts of free and unfree actions

Philosophical Psychology 24 (3):381 - 394 (2011)
Abstract
What does free will mean to laypersons? The present investigation sought to address this question by identifying how laypersons distinguish between free and unfree actions. We elicited autobiographical narratives in which participants described either free or unfree actions, and the narratives were subsequently subjected to impartial analysis. Results indicate that free actions were associated with reaching goals, high levels of conscious thought and deliberation, positive outcomes, and moral behavior (among other things). These findings suggest that lay conceptions of free will fit well with the view that free will is a form of action control
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