Macquarie University
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Free will: philosophy, psychology and simulated driver behaviour

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posted on 2022-03-28, 16:59 authored by Joshua O'Neill
Free will and its consequences have been studied for millennia. Although traditionally bound to the field of philosophy, the notion of free will has become salient in experimental psychology in recent years. This is largely due to the discovery that lowering belief in free will has deleterious behavioural consequences. The entailments of some types of determinism furthermore, constitute a defeater for some psychological theories of motivation. This paper addresses both of these considerations. Firstly, arguments for determinism are shown to be unsound and thus, the entailments relevant to psychology do not obtain. Secondly the results of an experiment seeking to determine the relationship between belief in free will and driver behaviour are reported. Results were non-significant. Given that significant effects have been widely reported in other conceptually related studies, the discussion considers misunderstandings regarding the replication process -- summary.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction -- Chapter 2. Historical overview -- Chapter 3. Philosophy of determinism -- Chapter 4. Folk conceptions of free will -- Chapter 5. Belief in free will and driver behaviour -- Chapter 6. Rationale -- Chapter 7. Method -- Chapter 8. Results -- Chapter 9. Discussion


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 56-64

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology

Department, Centre or School

Department of Psychology

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Julia Irwin


Copyright Joshua O'Neill 2019




1 online resource (64 pages)

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