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 to Be Grateful for Not-So-Great Dads

With Father's Day approaching and blogs abuzz about what makes the quintessential dad, or top ‘pop’ gifts, what about those who have not-so-great dads? Is it possible for them to appreciate a holiday dedicated to fathers? Let’s get real and accept that mediocre or “bad” dads exist and consider this for a second: can one be thankful for a terrible father?

People Don’t Always Make a Lot of Sense

Patients don't always do what they should, or what they say they will. When you try to figure out the reason, you may find out that there isn't any.

May the 3rd Force Be With You

Rollo May, Fritz Perls, Carl Rogers, and Abraham Maslow meet in a bar.....

If You Could Change Your Past, Would You?

Perhaps then, what we should ask ourselves is not “If you could change your past, would you?” but “You can change your future. Will you?”

The Shadow and His Wanderer

Indulge me in 3 lines of thought: Nietzsche on free will. How to talk to strangers on a plane. Car key design.

Carpe Diem! 30 Reasons to Seize the Day and How to Do It

These 30 motivational phrases will inspire you to seize the day.

The Thinking Trap

People believe their own thoughts despite the fact that much psychological science shows this is an illusion........

What Triggers Cravings?

What is the most effective way to eliminate cravings and stop the cycle of addictive behavior? This post offers new advice based on the latest cutting-edge scientific research.

5 Natural Reasons Why Life Is Hard

If you're like me, you've got a computer, a smart phone, a TV, a couch, some pets, a great family, and lots of awesome things - but you still often find that life is hard. Evolutionary psychology can help explain why.

Checking With Your Body First for Answers

By Steve Sisgold on April 03, 2015 in Life in a Body
Free will is the ability we have as humans to make choices

Is the Earth a Sentient Being?

The planet senses threats and changes its behavior to reduce those threats. Is it alive?

Free Will à la Mode?

Do you have free will? Can you bake a pie from scratch?

Overcome Hopelessness Thinking and Stop Feeling Depressed

By Bill Knaus Ed.D. on February 28, 2015 in Science and Sensibility
Can you think your way out of feeling depressed?

Schizophrenia and Violence, Part II

By Betsy Seifter Ph.D. on February 27, 2015 in After the Diagnosis
The insanity defense fails again, but mentally ill offenders need treatment, not punishment.

Discovering Peace of Mind

By Leon Pomeroy Ph.D. on February 22, 2015 in Beyond Good and Evil
I became the person I always wanted to be

How to Keep People From Bringing Out the Worst in You

Reactaholism is the major addiction of our times. The others tend to start as attempts to ease the chronic powerlessness of reactaholism.

The Celestine Prophecy

By The Book Brigade on February 10, 2015 in The Author Speaks
We all start off as nonbelievers, says James Redfield. But if we open ourselves to the spirituality just below the surface of our everyday challenges, interesting things start to happen. We become more intuitive. And we get luckier.

Staying Home

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on February 04, 2015 in One Among Many
There are two psychologies of religion. One shows that religion is a poor way of ‘knowing.’ The other shows that religion is a stubborn social phenomenon.

I Am (Not) Charlie

By Robert J Landy Ph.D. on January 30, 2015 in Couch and Stage
While visiting Turkey, the author reflects upon the terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket in Paris. In dialogue form, he questions the meaning not only of free speech and blasphemy, but also the meaning of human existence. The latter is influenced by a reading of Edward O. Wilson's Pulitzer-prize winning book of the same title.

A Breakthrough On The Physical Science Of The Soul

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on January 13, 2015 in Ambigamy
We've been in the dark so damn long we don't notice. We know that living striving selves are real but have no idea how they emerged in a universe that didn't start with them. Without a bridge from matter to mattering we hop between two separate realities, cause and effect, and means to ends. Science is now finally primed to bridge the gap.

The Opportunity of “The Magic Quarter Second”

By Tara Brach Ph.D. on January 12, 2015 in Finding True Refuge
The Buddha taught that to be free—not identified with or possessed by thoughts or feelings—we need to investigate each and every part of our experience with an intimate and mindful attention. The first step is pausing, making use of the magic quarter second, and the second, choosing to be present with our moment-to-moment experience.

Defining the Competent Psychiatrist

What is a competent psychiatrist? Harsh critics declare the question moot, official bodies print long lists of "competencies." Is the answer in between? What does it take to understand and help troubled people?

Self-help, Self-love, Selfie: What Is a Self Anyway?

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on January 05, 2015 in Ambigamy
We care about our selves a whole lot, and yet for all that care, we're fuzzy and tangled about what a self is. Here's an inventory of the fuzz and my best guess at how to untangle it.

The Brain Talks to Religion

By Mark Banschick M.D. on December 25, 2014 in The Intelligent Divorce
Can our brains be convinced that religion matters?

10 Mind-blowing Books from 2014

By Todd B Kashdan Ph.D. on December 16, 2014 in Curious?
Every year I post the top 10 books that I digested for the year. This was the best year of reading that I can remember. Expect to find a few that are off the beaten path. enjoy!

The Unified Theory: A Blog Tour

By Gregg Henriques on December 13, 2014 in Theory of Knowledge
A unified view of the field of psychology is possible. Here I offer readers a "blog tour" of why unified theory offers a needed meta-perspective on the field of psychology that is far more compelling than the current practice of viewing it as a disconnected, fragmented set of empirical findings that exists vaguely above biology and below the social sciences.

Do We Create Our Own Reality?

The belief that our thoughts create our reality is as seductive as it is misleading. We might like to believe that we have total control over what happens to us. But there's a big difference between being responsive to what happens to us versus being responsible for it. This article clarifies what we do have control over and what we do not.

What to Hope For?

By Neel Burton M.D. on November 10, 2014 in Hide and Seek
The psychology and philosophy of hope

The Neuroscience of Free Will and the Illusion of “You”

By Joe Pierre M.D. on November 07, 2014 in Psych Unseen
Neuroscientific discoveries from the past 20 years call into question our intuitive view of free will. Hard determinism, which rejects free will and dualism, could inform our understanding of the true nature of the self.

What Makes Us Thankful?

By Art Markman Ph.D. on November 05, 2014 in Ulterior Motives
There are lots of psychological benefits to gratitude. Feeling grateful to others can lift your mood. It enhances your feeling of connection to other people. Gratitude can also motivate you to do work for others.