Understanding Free Will

If we have free will, we can consciously make decisions that are not determined by the physics and biology of our brains. It's a philosophical and religious concept that has found no support in science, despite the strong illusion that we are free. Even if we are not, belief in free will can be healthy, as long as we remain aware that many factors influence our behavior subconsciously.

Recent posts on Free Will

How Can You Predict the Future?

By Gleb Tsipursky Ph.D. on October 27, 2016 in Intentional Insights
Wouldn't it be great to predict the future? Well, here are some research-based strategies to help you do so!

Freedom vs. Security in Z Nation's Zombie Apocalypse

Z Nation, Syfy's road trip adventure set in a zombie apocalypse, turns darker and explores Erich Fromm's "basic human dilemma," freedom vs. security. Is freedom worth the fear?

Is Polyamory a Form of Sexual Orientation?

Polyamory may be a sexual orientation, both in a legal and personal sense.

Are You Avoiding Your Fate?

Are you avoiding doing what you're supposed to do with your life? The Old Testament story of Jonah has a message for you.

Does Donald Trump Have Free Will?

By Erin Clabough Ph.D. on September 28, 2016 in Neuroparent
What does neuroscience tell us about Trump's future choices?

Why TSA Agents Need Therapy Skills Training

By Goal Auzeen Saedi Ph.D. on September 24, 2016 in Millennial Media
In the age of TSA, travel has become more stressful than ever before. Could training agents in basic therapy skills such as empathy and thought distortions help?

What If Medicine’s First Principle Were Also Education’s?

By Peter Gray Ph.D. on September 10, 2016 in Freedom to Learn
If standard schooling were a drug, it would have to come with a lot of warnings, if it were permitted at all. There's no evidence that it works better than a placebo.

Who (or What) Runs Your World?

By Denise R Friedman Ph.D. on September 10, 2016 in Always More to Learn
Is social media really about mind control? Do you need a digital detox?
Thomas Webb

Building a Bridge Between Intention and Action

By Thomas Webb Ph.D. on September 08, 2016 in The Road to Hell
Do you wish you could overcome your reluctance to exercise?

Big Data Is Nudging You

By Alain Samson Ph.D. on August 30, 2016 in Consumed
Slow to hit the purchase button? Here’s how you may be nudged to buy.

Illusion of Choice: The Myth of Free Will

By Matthew MacKinnon MD on August 28, 2016 in Neuraptitude
Does free will exist or is it a retrospective neural slight of hand? Neuroscience is revealing the unbelievable complexity of a seemingly simple assumption: choice exists.

Are Animals Conscious?

Are animals conscious? The implications are important.

On an Albert Ellis Quote

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on August 19, 2016 in How To Do Life
How much free will do we really have?

To the Rescue: The Saddest Toilet in the World

When it comes to toilet training it’s all about control versus lack of control. (Perhaps for the parents as well as the child.)

Do We Discover Meaning to Life or Do We Create It

Many people go through life on a headlong frenzy to find the one thing that will give meaning to their lives. Discover meaningful relationships in the "rest areas" of our lives.
W. R. Klemm

Who Is Responsible? You or Your Neurons

By William R. Klemm Ph.D. on August 02, 2016 in Memory Medic
Do you deserve credit for your honest achievements and blame for your failures? An increasing number of philosophers and scientists says no.
By NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library; Family of Captain William M. Scaife C&GS. (NOAA Photo Library: theb0734) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0) or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

How Self-Control Can Help You Live a Healthier Life

Self-control is a vital strength and key determinant of success in everyday life.

Unconscious Pig Latin? How Conscious Thoughts "Just Happen"

Can high-level thoughts (e.g., Pig Latin) occur involuntarily? If so, what does this reveal about the brain and consciousness?

The Question of Choice

By Alfie Kohn on July 22, 2016 in The Homework Myth
Claims that too much choice isn't good are based on a trivial kind of choosing. Also, beware attempts to hijack the word to legitimize other agendas, such as privatization.

Know Thyself

Knowing ourselves is no easy task.

More on the Pregnant Cancer Patient: To Terminate or No

The decision to terminate or not is the sole property of the mother, but with steady leadership of her oncologist. Personal moral codes juxtaposed to survival instincts are at play

Stop Struggling! Allow It to Happen!

By Srikumar Rao Ph.D. on July 12, 2016 in Creativity and Personal Mastery
When things do not go our way, we work harder. This is just the nature of life, right? Well, maybe not.
Wikimediacommons.org/Public Domain

Advise and Consent

Protection of human subjects involved in clinical research has become an important guiding principle only in recent years.

Did I Really Just Commit to That?

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on June 28, 2016 in The Dolphin Divide
How ‘Yes’ slips out in spite of ourselves. Why, when a request comes our way, we are often surprised to find ourselves taking on yet another obligation.

Is This the World We Are Building?

What Britain leaving the EU says about the current state of humankind.

The Compelling Illusion of Free Will

By David Ludden Ph.D. on June 15, 2016 in Talking Apes
Conscious choice is an afterthought of decision making, not a precursor to it.

Free Will Is Not an Illusion

By William R. Klemm Ph.D. on June 10, 2016 in Memory Medic
Many neuroscientists and philosophers say you are a biological robot. Don't believe them.

A Letter to Therapists 2: Finance Language Lessons

By Ryan Howes PhD, ABPP on June 06, 2016 in In Therapy
“If you knew my income, my debt, my bad decisions, my cover-ups, you definitely wouldn’t like me.”
K. Ramsland

To Be or Not To Be: Philosophical Serial Killers

Some serial killers find justification and solace in heady philosophical notions.

The Suppression of Individual Liberty

By Martina M. Cartwright Ph.D., R.D. on May 21, 2016 in Food For Thought
Humans are the only animals with free will. With freedom comes responsibility and despite so much perceived “freedom,” many are unhappy. Loss of individual liberty may be to blame