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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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Free Will as a Proportion

Free Will as a Proportion

(p.275) 14 Free Will as a Proportion
Are We Free?

William R Miller

David J Atencio

Oxford University Press

Volitional choice is assumed in morality, law, religion, business, and everyday social discourse. Free will can be understood as one of multiple factors influencing action, and thus accounting for a proportion of variance in human behavior. It interacts with the influences of genetics, environment, and experience. The volitional controllability of a behavior is measurable. The proportion of variance attributable to volition would be expected to vary across individuals, across behaviors, and for the same behavior within the same individual over time. The capacity for volitional control of behavior (self-regulation) emerges gradually over the course of development. Specific interventions have been developed and tested to strengthen volitional control of behavior. A comprehensive psychology of human nature should incorporate volition as one determinant of behavior, rather than conceptualizing it as antithetical to biological and environmental influences.

Keywords:   free will, volition, self-regulation, behavior, development, intervention

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