Imagine a universe in which everything that happens is completely caused by whatever happened before. So the things that happened at the very beginning of the universe caused the things that happened next, which caused the things that happened after that... right up until the present day. Now imagine that human decision making in this universe is no different from anything else. Just like anything else that occurs, human decisions are completely caused by whatever happened before them.
Now ask yourself: Is our universe actually like that? Do we live in a universe in which everything is completely caused by whatever happened before it? Or do we live in a universe in which human actions are somehow special and are not completely caused by anything that happened previously?
In a new cross-cultural study, the experimental philosopher Hagop Sarkissian and his colleagues asked this question to people living in India, Hong Kong, Colombia, and the United States. To see Hagop himself explaining the study, you can check out this YouTube video: