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

The Dangerous Doctrine of Free Will

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on February 15, 2018 in One Among Many
The Florida shooter planned and executed his gruesome deed. He is responsible. To say that he acted out of his free will is pointless. It undermines our understanding.

Feeling Lucky?

By Stephen A. Diamond Ph.D. on February 09, 2018 in Evil Deeds
Do we really make our own luck?

A Refreshing New Approach to the Free Will Debate

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on February 08, 2018 in Ambigamy
What could stop the free will debate from circling forever? A realistic explanation for what will is and how it emerges from aimless chemistry presented here in four short videos.

Negotiating "Us" versus "Me": The influence of Face Concerns

By Jennifer A. Samp Ph.D. on February 03, 2018 in Conflict Matters
Managing both positive and negative face poses a challenge to relationships.
CC0/pexels

Onward and Upward!

Isn't it time to drop the phrase "over the hill"?

Self and Will

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on January 13, 2018 in One Among Many
In Joseph in Egypt, Thomas Mann describes a splendid but flawed character. Or is he just human?

Some-nipotence: A Real Answer to the Free Will Question

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on January 08, 2018 in Ambigamy
You have free will and the reason you hear otherwise is that scientists got stuck on the assumption that you're just a complex chemical robot.
Carl Pickhardt Ph. D.

Adolescence and Freedom of Choice

Ending adolescence and now assuming independent self-management responsibility, the young person painfully discovers the costs that come with freedom of choice.

3 Surprising Ways Heartbreak Impacts Your Brain

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on January 07, 2018 in The Squeaky Wheel
When your heart gets broken, your brain does too.

Putting the Antic in Anticipation

By Scott G. Eberle Ph.D. on January 05, 2018 in Play in Mind
To anticipate being at play is already to be in play.

What We Can Learn from the Sexual Harassment Reckoning

By Tasha Eurich Ph.D. on January 04, 2018 in The Power of Insight
How the bad behavior of a few can help inspire a more self-aware world—if we listen.

Why Your Child is Not One of Your 2017 Accomplishments

By Paula L. White M.A. on December 31, 2017 in Shape Parenting
Trying to tally up your accomplishments for 2017? Great! Just leave your kids out of it!

Psychology Explains New Year Resolutions, Hits and Misses

55.2% of resolutions were health related (exercise: 31.3%, eat healthy: 10.4%, have healthier habits: 13.5%), 34.4% were work related (save: 20.8%, get out of debt: 12.5%)

Do You See What I See?

By Nathan A Heflick Ph.D. on December 29, 2017 in The Big Questions
Do our goals and motivations influence what we see?

The Joy and Sorrow of Rereading Holt’s "How Children Learn"

By Peter Gray Ph.D. on December 26, 2017 in Freedom to Learn
Holt was a brilliant observer of children in their everyday lives, who decades ago developed some profound insights into how children learn. I wish more people understood them.

4 Keys to Understanding Our Weird, Inconsistent Morality

By Rob Henderson on December 26, 2017 in After Service
What science reveals about morality, and how to make better moral decisions.

Morality Is Objective

By Eric Dietrich Ph.D. on December 23, 2017 in Excellent Beauty
Many people think that morality varies from culture to culture, person to person. But morality is as objective as mathematics or physics.
CC0/Pexels

Life Doesn't Just Happen to Us

By Alex Pattakos Ph.D. on December 18, 2017 in The Meaningful Life
Are you resistant to change? If you want things to stay the same, then something is going to have to change.
Aitoff/Pixabay

Why Am I Here?

By Alex Pattakos Ph.D. on December 11, 2017 in The Meaningful Life
How do you want to be remembered?

Why We Are Conscious

Why are we conscious creatures instead of unconscious ones?

A Solution to The Biggest Mystery You've Learned to Ignore

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 22, 2017 in Ambigamy
You've probably never thought to ask even though it's the question behind all your big questions: What is trying and how did it start?

Wild, Fun-loving, and Free

Childhood anxiety is largely learned, not innate. If we can teach our children to be anxious, it means we can teach them not to be anxious.
canstockphoto 8670714

Brain Fields, Complexity, and Consciousness

By Paul L. Nunez PhD on November 12, 2017 in The New Science of Consciousness
Complexity science provides a means to measure consciousness in coma and semi-conscious patients.

The Myth of the Self-Made Individual

We should be wary of those who claim to be self-made, who tout themselves as the emblems of accomplishment. These prominent people simply disregard the support they’ve had.

Five Ways to Help You Find Your Passion

By Barton Goldsmith Ph.D. on November 11, 2017 in Emotional Fitness
The important thing is to know that there is more of life you can fall in love with. Just give yourself a chance.

Guns, Drugs and Mental Health: Crises Everywhere

By Dorothy Firman Ed.D. LMHC, BCC on November 07, 2017 in Living a Life of Purpose
Life is hard and cries abound. What if each of us chose to become a better person?

How to Make Life Better: 12 Things to Do Today

Forget those articles in Cosmopolitan asking, "What Do Men Want in Bed?" The answer is simple: They want sex and a sandwich. Maybe pizza.

Causal Networks of the Brain in Depression

Advances in computational techniques move neuroscience forward by mapping out causality within functional brain networks.

Optimism Challenge Conclusion

By David Dillard-Wright Ph.D. on October 23, 2017 in Boundless
Optimism enables the belief that life is worth living.
CHOATphotographer/Shutterstock

To Forgive or Not to Forgive

By Alex Pattakos Ph.D. on October 19, 2017 in The Meaningful Life
If you don’t learn from unavoidable suffering, then your life becomes meaningless.