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

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.

Adolescence and Seeing What Can Be Gotten Away With

Growing up, adolescents sometimes test themselves by testing dangerous risks, family requirements, and social rules to see how much freedom they can get away with.

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.

Planes and Passengers: In the Heavens But Not a Match Made

Flying is possibly the most stressful thing a person can do.

How Your Brain Forces You to Watch Ads

By Douglas Van Praet on October 30, 2014 in Unconscious Branding
Your brain is hardwired to pay attention to the best ads. Learn how to reprogram your mind to ignore them.

Does Evolution Preclude Religious Faith?

By David P. Barash Ph.D. on October 29, 2014 in Pura Vida
Does evolutionary science preclude traditional religious belief? In my opinion, it doesn't, although it does make such belief substantially more difficult than it had been in pre-Darwinian days. In this post, I reprint an op-ed article I wrote for The New York Times, which generated a response avalanche - much of it misunderstanding what I was saying. Do you understand?

The Psychology of Laziness

By Neel Burton M.D. on October 25, 2014 in Hide and Seek
The psychology of laziness, procrastination, and idleness.

Why She Feels The Way She Does?

By Shahram Heshmat Ph.D. on October 24, 2014 in Science of Choice
Indeed, learning to tolerate or accept negative affect as it is, and focus on problem solving are important skills for the treatment of addiction.

How the "Psychological Drama" Taught Peter Lorre How to Act

By Jonathan D Moreno Ph.D on October 15, 2014 in Impromptu Man
Peter Lorre’s fate is a lesson for all of us. Old roles are hard to give up, even for great actors.

A Formula for Happiness in a Sometimes Cruel World

By Kristi Pikiewicz PhD on October 14, 2014 in Meaningful You
Have faith, which in this case means a fervent belief in the existence of unknowable, uncontrollable, and infinitely expansive, adaptive, and regenerative forces in the universe working within and between us to adapt to life’s misfortunes without misery swallowing up our capacities to make the best of painfully unjust, cruel, and sometimes tragic circumstances.

Why The Frozen Poop Pill Thing Is Awesome For EVERY Disease

By Max Lugavere on October 13, 2014 in The Optimalist
Microbiome therapy is the cutting edge of health science.

Analytical Thinking — Logic Errors 101

By William R. Klemm Ph.D. on October 07, 2014 in Memory Medic
What we read or hear is commonly tainted by thinking errors. Here's how to minimize such errors in your communication.

Do Souls Exist?

By David Kyle Johnson Ph.D. on October 06, 2014 in A Logical Take
In my article "Do Souls Exist," I explain why most philosophers doubt the existence of the soul. Here I field some of the most common questions regarding their doubts by responding to questions posed to me by philosophy of religion students at Berkhamsted School in London.

Don't Blame Plagiarism on Mental Illness

By Jean Kim M.D. on October 03, 2014 in Culture Shrink
Plagiarism is a volitional behavior, separate from primary mental illness.