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Are We Free?Psychology and Free Will$
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John Baer, James C. Kaufman, and Roy F. Baumeister

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195189636

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195189636.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 June 2021

Free Will and the Control of Action

Free Will and the Control of Action

(p.205) 10 Free Will and the Control of Action
Are We Free?

Henry L Roediger, III

Michael K Goode

Franklin M Zaromb

Oxford University Press

Empirical study of free will is directly related to the study of the control of human behavior. This chapter discusses four cognitive research paradigms, as well as their implications for the study of free will. Libet's investigations of the neural precursors of conscious choice provide evidence challenging the primacy of conscious thought. Studies using Logan's stop-signal paradigm demonstrate the capacity to inhibit simple, even habitual, actions. Research using Jacoby's process dissociation procedure (PDP) suggests that human behavior may be influenced by both automatic and controlled processes. The use of Koriat and Goldsmith's free and forced reporting procedure demonstrates how control may be exercised over both the accuracy and specificity of responses in cognitive tasks. All four paradigms show that humans can exert at least partial control over their actions, especially through inhibition. However, whether such control is evidence for the existence of free will may never be answered.

Keywords:   stop-signal paradigm, process dissociation procedure, forced report, free report, automatic processes, controlled processes, inhibition

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