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Scholars have long debated the function of free will beliefs—whether free will beliefs exist ‎primarily to stimulate prosociality, enforce societal rules, or to help individuals pursue their ‎own goals. There are findings consistent with each of these views, as researchers have found ‎that the more people endorse free will beliefs, the more likely they are to be prosocial (e.g., ‎altruism), adhere to social norms (e.g., less cheating and stealing), and pursue self-serving ‎goals (e.g., job performance). We conducted a registered report meta-analysis evaluating ‎empirical evidence of the finding supporting the three theoretical perspectives. A meta-‎analysis of XX correlational articles (k = XX studies) identified effect sizes between the ‎belief in free will and prosociality (ρ = x.xx [x.xx, x.xx]), norm adherence (ρ = x.xx [x.xx, ‎x.xx]) and personal outcomes (ρ = x.xx [x.xx, x.xx]). We applied equivalence testing to ‎compare the three effects, and found support for [difference/no-difference] between [one of ‎the three/two of the three/all three] associations. Publication bias analysis indicated that ‎‎ . We also tested several theoretical and empirical moderators and found ‎that <strengthened/weakened> the relationship between belief in free ‎will and . The findings highlight .‎
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Outcomes associated with believing in free will:
Meta-analysis Registered Report
*Kevin Nanakdewa
Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University
nana0002@e.ntu.edu.sg
*Dayana Bulchand
Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University
dayana.bulchand@ntu.edu.sg
*Jiayu Chen
Division of Psychology, Nanyang Technological University
ch0021yu@e.ntu.edu.sg
*Richelle-Joy Chia
Division of Psychology, Nanyang Technological University
Richelle002@e.ntu.edu.sg
*Velvetina Lim
Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University
velvetina.lim@ntu.edu.sg
*Chew Wei Ong
Division of Psychology, Nanyang Technological University
H160008@e.ntu.edu.sg
^Krishna Savani
Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University
ksavani@ntu.edu.sg
^Gilad Feldman
Department of Psychology, University of Hong Kong
gfeldman@hku.hk
*Joint first author
^Joint corresponding author
Word count:
Abstract - 197
Manuscript - 7115
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 1
Abstract
Scholars have long debated the function of free will beliefswhether free will beliefs exist
primarily to stimulate prosociality, enforce societal rules, or to help individuals pursue their
own goals. There are findings consistent with each of these views, as researchers have found
that the more people endorse free will beliefs, the more likely they are to be prosocial (e.g.,
altruism), adhere to social norms (e.g., less cheating and stealing), and pursue self-serving
goals (e.g., job performance). We conducted a registered report meta-analysis evaluating
empirical evidence of the finding supporting the three theoretical perspectives. A meta-
analysis of XX correlational articles (k = XX studies) identified effect sizes between the
belief in free will and prosociality (ρ = x.xx [x.xx, x.xx]), norm adherence (ρ = x.xx [x.xx,
x.xx]) and personal outcomes (ρ = x.xx [x.xx, x.xx]). We applied equivalence testing to
compare the three effects, and found support for [difference/no-difference] between [one of
the three/two of the three/all three] associations. Publication bias analysis indicated that
<XXX key findings>. We also tested several theoretical and empirical moderators and found
that <XXX moderators> <strengthened/weakened> the relationship between belief in free
will and <XXX outcomes>. The findings highlight <XXX key conclusions>.
Keywords: free will; meta-analysis; registered report; prosocial; norm adherence; self-serving
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 2
Outcomes associated with believing in free will:
Meta-analysis Registered Report
Philosophers have been debating free will and its existence for over two millennia
with no resolution in sight. Yet the last two decades have witnessed the emergence of a
research domain offering a new take on the free will issue, headed mostly by psychologists
and experimental philosophers. Rather than attempting to resolve the issue of free will, the
new approach focused on laypersons' understanding of the concept of free will, and the
antecedents and consequences of free will lay beliefs. Free will is a complex and somewhat
loaded term, which makes arriving at a common definition challenging. Yet, discussing free
will beliefs, a multi-disciplinary forum and much of the subsequent literature has converged
on defining it as the belief that humans have the capacity to act freely (Haggard et al., 2010;
Kane, 2002, 2011), that per a specific behavior a person could have chosen to do otherwise
(Nichols, 2004). The laypersons' understanding of free will seems to center on the concept of
choice (Feldman et al., 2014), and of human behavior as reasonably free from internal and
external constraints, across situations, for both self and others (Baumeister & Monroe, 2014;
Feldman, 2017).
This approach has enabled researchers to conduct empirical studies assessing lay
people’s understanding of the concept of free will (Monroe & Malle, 2014), measuring free
will beliefs (Deery et al., 2015; Nadelhoffer et al., 2014; Paulhus & Margesson, 1994;
Paulhus & Carey, 2011; Rakos et al., 2008), and assessing outcomes associated with free will
beliefs (e.g., Baumeister & Brewer, 2012; Baumeister & Monroe, 2014). The outcomes
associated with free will beliefs may subsequently inform theoretical questions about free
will, for example, what is free will for?
There are currently two main perspectives on the functional role of free will beliefs,
arguing that the belief in free will has evolved as a mechanism (1) to promote interpersonal
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 3
outcomes for coexistence with others (Baumeister, 2005), and (2) to help humans pursue their
own goals, wants, and needs (Dennett, 2003). The interpersonal perspective can be split into a
prosociality component and a norm adherence component. We differentiate between norm
adherence and promotion of prosociality as two distinct potential functions of free-will beliefs
because, although both functions can serve similar end goals of influencing behavior, they do
so in fundamentally different ways. Norm adherence tends to focus on injunctive monitoring,
punishing, and preventing (Cialdini et al., 1991; Fehr & Fischbacher, 2004), whereas
prosociality tends to be more promotive and positive (Aknin et al., 2018; Caprara et al., 2012;
Dunn et al., 2008). Furthermore, the literature on prosocial behavior and norm adherence
does not overlap; treating these two functions interchangeably would reduce our contribution
and relevance to each literature. We summarized our model and study examples in Figure 1.
Figure 1
Outcomes associated with free will beliefs: Categorization and examples
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 4
Free will outcomes: Classification
Interpersonal: Prosociality
The currently dominant view in social psychology, often referred to as the “action-
control perspective,” argues that the concept of free will has evolved to allow the self to
coexist with others in society so as to override inherent immediate biological drives that
mainly focus on the needs of the self (Kant, 1788/1997). The ability to override such drives
arguably allows for prospection, long-term planning, action control, and coordination with
others (Baumeister, 2005, 2008a; Seligman et al., 2013). In this view, all animals have the
inherent tendency to behave selfishly in order to survive, but humans possess unique
attributes that enable them to override the self in order to consider long term goals and
postpone selfish urges and needs. This arguably gives humans a distinctive capacity to allow
considerations of others in a cultural society (Baumeister, 2008b; Baumeister & Monroe,
2014). Simply put, under this perspective, free will is for social functioning and enabling
coexistence with others (Baumeister, 2008a). If that is the case, belief in free will should be
associated with prosociality (i.e., socially-desirable prosocial behaviors and attitudes).
Consistent with the action-control perspective, the “cultural animal framework”
(Baumeister & Monroe, 2014, p.10) argues that free will beliefs evolved so that individuals
could successfully navigate in their social environments and coexist with others, by
overriding their own selfish biological urges, needs, and desires. Baumeister (2005, p. 44)
stated, “What is necessary for living in culture, [...] is that the person can recognize several
possible courses of action, can hold on to mental representations of their meanings and
implications (including possible consequences) simultaneously, can analyze and compare
them, and can choose among them in a way that is not fully and explicitly programmed in
advance”. Free will beliefs may help increase people’s perceptions that their inherent
biological drives are not pre-determined, allowing for developing a sense of shared goals and
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 5
meaning that go beyond the self, and that one relies on coexisting with others and behaving in
socially desirable ways in order to enable long-term survival (Baumeister et al., 2009).
This theoretical association between free will beliefs and prosociality has been
supported in empirical investigations, demonstrated with a breadth of outcomes such as
cooperation and helping behaviors. One study manipulated participants’ disbelief in free will
and found that people assigned to the disbelief in free will condition were less cooperative
than people in the control group who were given limited time to make a decision (Protzko et
al., 2016). Baumeister et al. (2009) consistently found that disbelief in free will reduced pro-
social behaviors and increased aggression, which has been partially replicated by Harms and
his collaborators (2017). They revealed that disbelief in free will led to less altruistic
behaviors only amongst non-religious participants. Furthermore, belief in free will has been
found to be positively linked with other socially-desirable behaviors, including belongingness
(Moynihan et al., 2017), passionate love (Boudesseul et al., 2016), gratitude (MacKenzie et
al., 2014), modesty (Earp et al., 2018), humility (i.e., “a corrective to the natural human
tendency to prioritize ourselves”; Earp et al., 2018, p. 18), and reduced prejudice (Zhao et al.,
2014). Based on findings mentioned above, we expect to find that free will belief is positively
associated with prosociality:
We therefore hypothesized:
Hypothesis 1: Free will beliefs are positively associated with interpersonal
prosociality.
Interpersonal: Norm adherence
Free will beliefs may play a role in society not only in enabling individuals’ to
override immediate biological urges, needs, and desires, but also in enhancing social cohesion
by promoting socially normative behaviors and punishing (or attaching blame to) socially
unacceptable behaviors (Chernyak et al., 2019). Simply put, under this perspective, free will
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 6
is paradoxically meant for "following rules" (Baumeister, 2008a). Specifically, proponents of
this framework argued that in a well-functioning society, human beings are held accountable
for their behavior. For laypersons and in most common contemporary social-legal systems,
there exists an association between accountability and free, meaning that for individuals to be
held accountable there needs to be the perception that they could have chosen to act
differently.
One of the major roles of societies is to develop shared moral codes that guide
members' sense of moral responsibility (i.e., the deservingness of praise, blame, reward, or
punishment for action and inaction; Talbert, 2019). Societies establish processes for both
praising individuals for adhering to social norms, and blaming and/or punishing individuals
for violating social norms and engaging in other socially unacceptable behaviors (Clark et al.,
2014). Though philosophically debatable, free will has evolved in societies to be commonly
perceived as a prerequisite for moral responsibility (Feldman et al., 2016; Nichols & Knobe,
2007; Sarkissian et al., 2010; Stillman et al., 2011). In the literature, there is a strong
association between free will and moral responsibility, with some authors operationalizing the
belief in moral responsibility as a component in the measurement of free will beliefs (e.g.,
“People are always at fault for their bad behavior”; FAD Plus, Paulhus & Carey, 2011).
In sum, free will beliefs are commonly perceived as a prerequisite for moral
responsibility and as enabling praise, blame, and punishment for norm adherence or violation.
Free will beliefs may be associated with norm adherence through 1) stronger perceptions of
and perceived importance of moral responsibility when evaluating others' behaviors, and 2)
lower (higher) propensity by individuals to engage in norm violating (adhering) behaviors.
Stronger perceptions of moral responsibility when evaluating others' behaviors
A motivated account of free will argued that free will beliefs serve as a social tool for
norm adherence (Clark et al., 2014; Clark et al., 2017; Clark et al., 2018; Shariff et al., 2014).
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 7
In this perspective, free will beliefs are associated with stronger desire to uphold
accountability (Aspinwall et al., 2012; Carey & Paulhus, 2013; Feldman et al., 2016; Nettler,
1959), and less willingness to forgive others for their wrongdoings (Baumeister & Brewer,
2012; see summary in Nadelhoffer & Tocchetto, 2013). Studies found support for the
association between free will beliefs and outcomes such as intolerance of socially
unacceptable behaviors, and support for criminal punishment (Martin et al., 2017).
We therefore hypothesized:
Hypothesis 2: Free will beliefs are positively (negatively) associated with
stronger perceptions and perceived importance of norm adherence
(violation) in both self and others.
Stronger adherence to social norms
Several studies have also found that people holding weaker free will beliefs are more
likely to engage in behaviors that violate social norms. For example, Vohs and Schooler
(2008) found that exposure to anti-free-will essays claiming free will is an illusion was
associated with cheating. One possible explanation was that when free will beliefs are
diminished, people may claim that they could not have chosen to do otherwise and hence
reject any moral responsibility for their misdeeds. Following this idea, Stillman and
Baumeister (2010, p. 43) argued that belief in free will “facilitates exerting control over one’s
actions”. Presumably the accountability and control afforded by belief in free will allows
individuals to act in ways that are in accordance with social norms.
Based on the findings under this perspective, some scholars have warned of the
potential hazards of announcing scientific findings in support of disbelief in free will (e.g.
Shariff et al., 2008; Shariff & Vohs, 2014), with some even suggesting that it is imperative
for society to maintain the 'positive illusion' of free will (see Nadelhoffer & Matveeva, 2009,
for a summary).
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 8
We therefore hypothesized:
Hypothesis 3: Free will beliefs are positively (negatively) associated with
norm adherence (violation) behaviors.
We note that some findings supporting the norm adherence view on free will beliefs
have recently been challenged (Caruso, 2016, 2018; Focquaert et al., 2019; Lynn et al., 2014;
Monroe et al., 2017; Shaw, & Pereboom, 2019). For example, several studies failed to
replicate Vohs and Schooler's free will manipulation findings in large scale attempts (e.g.,
Crone & Levy, 2019; Ewusi-Boisvert, & Racine, 2018; Nadelhoffer et al., 2019; Open
Science Collaboration, 2015; Smith, 2019; Zwaan, 2013). Given that these challenges and
concerns and failed replications involve experimental manipulations of free will beliefs (see
Ewusi-Boisvert, & Racine, 2013), we decided against including experimental studies in our
meta-analysis. Correlational studies, which we focus on exclusively in this meta-analysis, do
seem to show more consistent robust associations between free will beliefs and aspects of
morality (e.g., Martin et al., 2017), compared to studies that manipulate free will beliefs,
although these findings have also come into some debate (Crone & Levy, 2019; Monroe &
Ysidron, 2019).
One potential explanation for failed replication attempts is that the relationship
between free will beliefs and norm adherence outcomes is subject to boundary conditions. For
example, recently the motivated account of free will has been challenged for its conflation of
moral responsibility as a component of free will, with some authors suggesting that free will
is associated with outcomes beyond morality and presumed motivations to punish (Monroe &
Ysidron, 2019). Other experimental studies have reported results consistent with this
challenge (Feldman et al., 2016; Fillon et al., 2020). Potentially, measures of free will that
conflate moral responsibility could have different relationships with outcomes compared to
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 9
measures that do not conflate moral responsibility. We thus include this as moderator in the
present meta-analysis.
Another possible boundary condition is that of culture. Recent findings underscore the
role of culture in understanding how people think about free will (Hannikainen et al., 2019).
Specifically, being the source of one’s actions is less salient in Asian cultures, conceivably
because Asian cultures are relatively more likely to attribute outcomes to situations rather
than rather than dispositions (Choi et al., 1999). Thus, many of the findings on free will
beliefs to date may not be globally representative given that many of these studies “suffered
from an important limitation: Most past studies relied on small and homogeneous North
American samples” (Hannikainen et al., 2019, p. 11). To partially account for cultural
differences, we include the cultural dimension of tightness versus looseness as a moderator
(see moderators section for details).
Personal: Free will for the self
Another perspective views free will as a mechanism that allows the self to pursue self-
enhancing desired states and goals, such that a person is free from external social constraints
and thus able to pursue individual wants and needs (Hume, 1748; Edwards, 1754). Put more
simply free will is for enabling the individual to get what she or he wants (Dennett, 2003),
and giving the self a stronger sense of autonomy and self-direction (Kane, 2002). In this view,
free will beliefs encompass a much wider influence over human action than the mere link to
prosociality and moral accountability, in that this belief enables a person to choose and
pursue personal self-serving goals.
A common thread across both interpersonal and personal perspectives of free will is
the link to responsibility and accountability for decisions and behavior. In prosociality, free
will promotes the idea of being held accountable in society, yet for the individual it also
represents a stronger sense of autonomy and control over their outcomes (Kane, 2005) and
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 10
the ability learn from one’s own mistakes and initiate action to change direction when
necessary (Feldman et al., 2016).
Consistent with this idea, several studies have found support for the link between free
will beliefs and performance, motivation, self-regulation, choice, learning, satisfaction, and
goal pursuit (Baumeister & Monroe, 2014; Feldman, 2017). For example, free will beliefs
were positively associated with performance in a spell-checking task, and academic GPA
(Feldman et al., 2016). This finding is suggestive of free will beliefs as facilitating learning
and improvement, to view the self as a capable and active agent free to choose and pursue
one’s own path (Feldman et al., 2016). Similarly, employees’ free will beliefs were a
significant predictor of workplace performance (Stillman et al., 2010) and job satisfaction
(Feldman et al., 2018).
Free will beliefs have also been associated with higher autonomy, less conformity,
and more willingness to exert effort (Alquist et al., 2013; Moynihan et al., 2019), lower
helplessness and stronger self-efficacy (Baumeister & Brewer, 2012), stronger motivation to
succeed (Stillman et al., 2010), higher perceived ability and positive attitudes toward decision
making (Feldman et al., 2014), actions more in line with own values (Stillman, Baumeister, &
Mele, 2011), more meaningfulness (Moynihan et al., 2019), and more future-oriented views
(Seligman et al., 2013). Moreover, free will beliefs have even been shown to influence basic
cognitive volitional functions (Rigoni & Brass, 2014), such as heightened brain readiness
potential in human motor actions (Rigoni et al., 2011), more efficient processing of errors
(Rigoni et al., 2013; Rigoni et al., 2015) and better suppression of pain (Lynn et al., 2013).
While the results from many studies have supported the view that belief in free will
enables one to pursue self-serving goals, results from other studies suggest a more nuanced
view that depends on individual differences, the national culture, the study design, and other
measures accounted for in the analysis. For example, one study found that the stronger people
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 11
believed in free will, the less indecisive they were, but this relationship did not hold for
people with low concept clarity (Kokkoris et al., 2019, Study 4). Another study found that the
previously supported positive association between free will beliefs and life satisfaction
observed in US samples (see Bergner & Ramon, 2013; Crescioni et al., 2016) did not hold
among Dutch respondents (Sponken et al., 2019, Study 1). In a later study, the authors found
that among Dutch respondents, the relationship between free will beliefs and life satisfaction
was significant only when life satisfaction was measured before free will beliefs (Spronken et
al., 2019, Study 3). Finally, some studies have suggested that peoples’ free will beliefs may
not predict incremental variance when other related variables are included in the model, such
as self-esteem (Alquist et al., 2015; Rakos et al., 2008), self-control (Baumeister, 2008;
Baumeister & Monroe, 2014; Clarkson et al., 2015; Rigoni et al., 2012), or self-efficacy
(Crescioni et al., 2016; Rigoni et al., 2011). Despite the challenges presented above to the
self-serving view of free will beliefs, in hypothesizing a main effect, we followed the
dominant perspective that free will beliefs are positively associated with personal outcomes.
We therefore hypothesized:
Hypothesis 4: The belief in free will is positively associated with personal
outcomes.
We note that we decided to differentiate between individual norm adherence and
personal outcomes to attempt to disentangle the individual from the social context. In many
cases, the argument can be made that humans are social animals, and as such everything we
do personally is also of social consequence. Following this view would lead us to conflate the
individual and the social context and would reduce the value of the present meta-analysis. To
provide an understanding of the relationship between free will beliefs and individual norm
adherence outcomes (versus personal outcomes) without making unsupported assumptions,
we will have independent coders categorize each outcome and classify each outcome as norm
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 12
adherence or personal only if there is adequate interrater agreement to do so. Otherwise, we
will classify the outcome as both, neither, or unclear.
Comparing the perspectives
The findings that stronger free will beliefs are associated with less conformity (see
Alquist et al., 2013) are especially interesting as they pit personal and interpersonal views of
free will against one another. If free will indeed serves the function of promoting adherence
to social norms, then we would expect higher conformity with stronger free will beliefs,
rather than lower. Is it possible that free will beliefs are associated with both stronger
adherence to norms and less conformity at the same time? Similarly, if an individual faces
competing motivations of promoting oneself or helping others, which motivation is stronger?
Although the two perspectives on free will are not mutually exclusive, they have
different foci—further social goals vs. further one’s own goals. An important question
ariseswhich of these two links is stronger? To answer this question, we aim to meta-
analyze studies completed to date to better understand the extent of the association between
free will beliefs and outcomes associated with the different perspectives on free will.
Specifically, we will address two research questions in this meta-analysis: What is the
direction and strength of the relationship between free will beliefs and outcomes that are
viewed as (1) primarily intended for social functioning, and (2) primarily intended to help
individuals get what they want? Given that we have no basis for predicting the relative
strength of relationships, we will investigate competing hypotheses:
Hypothesis 5a: Free will beliefs are more strongly positively associated with
group-oriented outcomes than self-oriented outcomes.
Hypothesis 5b: Free will beliefs are more strongly positively associated with
self-oriented outcomes than group-oriented outcomes.
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 13
Scholars have argued that behaviors that are self-serving are also often socially useful,
and vice versa (Eldakar & Wilson, 2008; Gino et al., 2013; Melis & Semmann, 2010).
Although we focus here more on the immediate functions and outcomes associated with each
behavior, we recognize that categorizing outcomes as furthering one’s own goals versus
furthering social goals may be blurry. Therefore, we will have multiple independent coders
code each outcome to determine if each can be justifiably categorized as one or the other. We
will allow for each outcome to be classified as either group-oriented, self-oriented, both,
neither, or unclear.
Moderators
Attitudes, intentions, and behaviors
Authors investigating the consequences of free-will beliefs have assessed outcomes in
terms of intentions (e.g., reported likelihood of conformity; Alquist et al., 2013, Study 1),
attitudes (e.g., attitudes about choice ability; Feldman et al., 2014), and observed behaviors
(e.g., aggression; Baumeister et al., 2009). Classic literature on attitudes, intentions, and
behaviors suggests that the links from attitudes to intentions, and from intentions to behaviors
are subject to several factors (Bagozzi, 1981, 1992). In other words, attitudes do not always
lead to intentions, and people do not always do as they intend. We thus expect that the link
between free will beliefs and outcomes will be strongest for outcomes measured as an
attitude, and weakest for outcomes measured as a behavior. We will code these moderators as
two dummy variables: one for attitudes (1 = attitude, 0 = non-attitude), and one for behavior
(1 = behavior, 0 = non-behavior).
We therefore hypothesize:
Hypothesis 6: Free-will beliefs are more strongly associated with outcomes
measured as attitudes (compared to outcomes measured as intentions or
behaviors).
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 14
Hypothesis 7: Free-will beliefs are less strongly associated with outcomes
measured as behaviors (compared to outcomes measured as attitudes or
intentions).
Culture: Tightness vs looseness
Literature on free-will beliefs and culture has started to show that peoples’
understanding of free-will beliefs may be influenced by national culture (for a review, see
Hannikainen et al., 2019; for non-WEIRD samples with findings different from previous
WEIRD samples, see Kushnir et al., 2015; Martin et al., 2017; Spronken et al., 2019; Wente
et al., 2016). On the other hand, authors have also found evidence suggesting that people
from diverse cultures such as the US, Hong Kong, India, and Colombia show cross-cultural
convergence on fundamental ideas about free-will (Sarkissian et al., 2010). One dimension of
culture that is of particular relevance to the norm-adherence function of free will beliefs is
cultural tightness, which refers to the extent that a culture has strong norms and a low
tolerance for deviance (Gelfand et al., 2011). In tight cultures, free-will beliefs serve as a
necessary antecedent to punishment. Thus, we expect that the relationship between free-will
beliefs and norm-adherence outcomes will be stronger in tight cultures. We will obtain
national tightness-looseness scores from Gelfrand et al. (2011), or from other updated sources
where available.
We hypothesize:
Hypothesis 8: The relationship between free will beliefs and norm adherence
outcomes will be moderated by cultural tightness-looseness, such that the
relationship will be stronger in cultures that score higher in cultural
tightness.
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 15
Free will beliefs measure: Conflated with moral responsibility and agency
Some measures of free will beliefs ask people to indicate whether they believe in free
will, leaving the term “free will” open to the individual’s own lay conception (e.g., “Do you
believe in free will”). Other measures impose a definition or conceptualization of free will
(e.g., “People are always at fault for their bad behavior”; Paulhus & Carey, 2011). No
literature has directly examined whether the conceptualizations used in commonly used scales
overlap with people’s lay conception of free will. As an exploratory moderator, we will code
each measure as to whether it imposes a definition of free will, or if it leaves interpretation
open to the respondent. It is thus presently unclear whether existing measures truly examine
free will beliefs (as per peoples’ lay ideas) or other ideas such as beliefs about moral
responsibility or agency.
Some of the existing free will beliefs measurements conflate moral responsibility and
free will (e.g., “People must take full responsibility for the bad things they do.”; FAD Plus,
Paulhus & Carey, 2011). The relationship between moral responsibility and free will is
complex. Some even view free will as a prerequisite for holding people morally responsible
for their actions. Yet authors have also argued and found support for the idea that a desire to
hold others morally responsible motivates free will beliefs (Clark et al., 2014). Recently,
another study found that moral responsibility does not uniquely influence free will beliefs, but
rather norm deviations (Monroe & Ysidron, 2019). Across several experiments, the authors
found people’s expectations for norm adherence (and not motivation to blame immoral
behaviors) explained malleability in attributing free will to others. Given these findings, it is
possible that scales which include items relating to moral responsibility may show different
effects compared to scales that do not measure moral responsibility in their measurements of
free will beliefs. More specifically, we expect that scales that focus on moral responsibility
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 16
would be more strongly associated with interpersonal norm adherence outcomes (e.g.,
punishment, punitive blame, responsibility for unethical behavior).
We therefore hypothesize:
Hypothesis 9: Free will beliefs are more strongly associated with norm-
adherence outcomes and prosociality outcomes for measures of free will that
more strongly conflate moral responsibility with free will.
Recently, Clark and colleagues (2019) found that motivated free will beliefs and
attributions remained robust after removing possible moral responsibility confounds. It is
presently unclear whether the inclusion of moral responsibility as a feature of free will
influence the relationship between free will beliefs and outcomes. Given the recent findings
from Clark and colleagues (2019), it is possible that the association between free will beliefs
and norm-adherence (and prosociality) outcomes do not depend on the extent to which the
measure conflates moral responsibility with free will. We therefore draw a competing
hypothesis:
Hypothesis 10: The relationship between free will beliefs and norm-
adherence (and prosociality) outcomes do not significantly vary as a
function of the extent to which the measure used conflates moral
responsibility with free will.
Another common conceptualization of free will focuses on agency. Some measures
(or items included in measures) conceptualize free will in terms of peoples’ agency (e.g.,
People do not choose to be in the situations they end up it just happens, reverse-coded;
Paulhus & Margesson, 1994). Indeed, scholars have found that agency, and more specifically
the ability to make choices, is a key factor in how people think about free will (Feldman et
al., 2014), yet not all measures focus on this conceptualization. Given that agency and choice
gives people the opportunity to simultaneously express themselves and influence their
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 17
environment (Savani et al., 2017), we expect to find that measures that reflect ideas related to
agency will be more closely related to personal outcomes.
Hypothesis 11: Free will beliefs are more strongly associated with personal
outcomes for measures of free will that more strongly conflate agency with
free will.
To test the above two hypotheses, we will have independent coders review measures
of free will beliefs and code each item in each scale on the extent to which the item includes
ideas related to moral responsibility (e.g., assertions that people should take responsibility for
their actions) on a scale from 1 to 7, and the extent to which the item includes ideas related to
agency (e.g., assertions that people can make choices and control their outcomes) on a scale
from 1 to 7. We will then generate a “moral responsibility index” and an “agency index” for
each measure and use those in testing whether the extent that each measure relies on agency
and moral responsibility influences the relationship between free will beliefs and different
categories of outcomes as specified in the above two hypotheses.
Publication status
Given that, traditionally, articles with nonsignificant findings are less likely to be
published (Carter & McCullough, 2014), we expect that the publication status of the article
will affect the relationship between free will and outcomes. Specifically, we expect that the
relationship between free will beliefs and all outcomes will be stronger for studies that are
published.
We therefore hypothesize:
Hypothesis 11: The relationship between free will beliefs and outcomes
(prosocial, norm adherence, and personal outcomes) are stronger in
published studies (compared to not published).
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 18
Free will belief measure: General free will or one’s own free will
Some measures of free will beliefs refer to beliefs about free will in general, while
others refer specifically to one’s own free will. Given that people believe they have more free
will than others in general (Pronin and Kugler, 2010), we expect that the relationship between
free will beliefs and outcomes will be stronger for measures that ask participants to rate their
own free will, as opposed to free will in general. To test this, we will ask independent coders
to rate each measure as either measuring general free will or one’s own free will.
We therefore hypothesize:
Hypothesis 12: The relationship between free will beliefs and outcomes
(prosocial, norm adherence, and personal outcomes) are stronger for
measures that ask participants to rate their own free will compared to
measures that ask participants to rate free will in general.
Methods
[Note: If written in past tense, should be treated as TBD to be implemented and updated
following Registered Report approval.]
Pre-registration and open-science
We pre-registered our meta-analysis on the Open Science Framework (OSF) and then
proceeded to begin search and coding. The pre-registration and additional information about
decisions are available in the supplementary materials. These together with coding sheet,
protocols, datasets, and R/RMarkdown code were shared on the Open Science Framework:
(review link) https://osf.io/57sau/?view_only=2f9ba477f34e4fac9e98f4c0a172fa93 ).
[Note: Review link is active and includes a copy of the suggested coding sheet and email
template.]
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 19
Design
The independent variable (IV) for this meta-analysis is belief in free will. The three
categories of dependent variables (DV) are 1) interpersonal prosocial outcomes, 2)
interpersonal norm adherence outcomes, and 3) personal outcomes.
Eligibility criteria
Studies including measures of belief in free will and outcomes (see Table 1) are
included in our analysis. We may include outcomes not listed in the table if they can be
justifiably classified into one of our identified categories: prosocial, norm adherence, or
personal.
Search Strategy
Meta-analysis process and search process are outlined in Appendix A and B. We will
use Google Scholar as the search database as Google Scholar has been shown to be a suitable
database for gathering articles for the meta-analyses (for suitability for meta-analyses see
Gehanno et al., 2013).
Combinations of the following search terms will be used to search the database
systematically. Exact combinations and overall pattern to be used (i.e., combining all IV-
related keywords with one of the DV-related keywords) can be found in the coding sheet
under “Search Patterns Pre-Test”. The IV-related keywords are: free will, free-will, freedom
of will, personal choice, choosing. The DV-related keywords are: consequence, outcome,
behavior/behavior, attitude, attribution, intention, unethical, ethical, prosocial, self-serving,
positive, negative, motivation, performance, satisfaction, well-being, cheating, regret, guilt,
punish, stealing, aggression, helping, blaming, learning, conformity, meaning, antisocial,
volition, moral, punitive, gratitude, volunteering, counterfactual, self-improvement,
prejudice, altruism, goals, humility, justification, policy, praise, passionate love, cooperation,
belongingness, lying, responsibility, agency, self-control, addiction. Additional keywords
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 20
identified through the process that match the criteria for inclusion will be documented clearly
and our search will be updated accordingly.
During the search, keywords related to IV will be linked with the Boolean Logic
operators “OR”, while keywords between IV and DV will be linked with the Boolean Logic
operators “AND”. An asterisk will be added to the end of each keyword (e.g., “Belie*”) to
indicate truncations for keywords that may be spelled slightly differently (e.g., “belief” vs.
“beliefs”, Robinson & Dickersin, 2002). This, along with variations of the respective
keyword will be included in the search with the original keywords specified in previous
points if search results on Google Scholar yield less than 100 results. The variations will be
linked with OR. An example of our search pattern is as follows: ("free will" OR "free-will"
OR "freedom of will") AND ("unethical").
The search will include papers listed under the “related articles” and “cited by”
features in Google Scholar to identify papers that are similar or have cited the identified
articles. Furthermore, the search will include using the “cited by” feature in Google Scholar
to identify additional relevant studies that have cited the articles on the common
measurements of free will beliefs. A skimming of reference sections of found articles will be
conducted to check for additional relevant studies. We will also look at other articles that are
published by previously identified authors in the field to check if there are other relevant
papers that we may have missed. To ensure full coverage and maximize access to
unpublished data and/or manuscripts, we will contact authors of the identified articles, issue a
call for unpublished findings on research forums and social media platforms such as
ResearchGate and Twitter, as well as post this meta-analysis project on ResearchGate and add
all the identified articles to notify the authors about this project and request for more relevant
but unpublished data. For all the articles, titles, abstracts, tables, and methods sections will be
scanned to identify the relevance of a source.
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 21
Selection procedure
Studies collected through the database searches will be assessed for their eligibility
based on their titles, abstract, and content. Database searches for each search pattern used will
terminate once the researcher scans through three full pages of records on Google Scholar
consecutively without relevant papers that fit our inclusion criteria. Two researchers will
examine and determine the adequacy of the study for the meta-analysis and aim to reach an
agreement. Any disagreements will be resolved through discussion with the coordinator or a
third senior member. All decisions on inclusion and exclusion will be documented with
reasons in any case.
Inclusion criteria
We focus on correlational studies in our meta-analysis. In our meta-analysis, we will
only include studies that measured free will beliefs as an independent variable and not as an
outcome. We will also only include measures of free will beliefs, and not studies that
manipulated free will beliefs. We will also exclude studies that include other manipulations or
interventions. Correlational meta-analyses typically exclude studies that had manipulations of
the target variable before the said variable was measured (e.g., Chevance et al., 2019), or
conduct a separate meta-analysis for studies with manipulations or interventions (e.g.,
Schmitt et al., 2014; van Kleeck et al., 2010). As this is a correlational meta-analysis, we will
include correlations and effect sizes, as long as the effect size reported is based on a measure
of free will beliefs, and not an experimental manipulation. We will include studies that report
correlations between free will beliefs and outcomes that can be classified as prosocial, norm
adherence, or personal. Most free will belief scales also measure other constructs, such as
determinism (sometimes with subscales such as fatalistic determinism and scientific
determinism; Paulhus & Carey, 2011), fatalism, moral accountability, dualism. This may
create confounds that will be difficult to disentangle. To simplify, we will only use free will
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 22
scales and free will subscales in our analysis. We will also code 1) separate subscales (e.g.,
fatalism), and 2) aggregate scales that include free will subscales (e.g., free will and
determinism scales), but these will only serve for future exploratory analyses and not for
testing our main hypotheses.
Exclusion criteria
We will exclude studies that measured free will beliefs as an outcome or a dependent
variable, studies that do not directly measure belief in free will (including studies that
measure only determinism or fatalism), studies which did not report crucial statistics such as
correlation coefficients or sample sizes, and studies where the dependent variable cannot be
justifiably classified into prosociality, norm adherence, or personal categories. We will also
exclude experimental studies where either free will beliefs were manipulated or appeared
after a manipulation.
Data extraction procedure
The suggested coding sheet is available for review on (open for reviewer
commenting):
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1R7CqMkAyV_hT3uXaieulHSoVjj69x9owuvX3otK
TeCg/edit?usp=sharing and a copy has been uploaded to the OSF page).
We included a coding sheet as a separate file along with a codebook for details on
how each column is to be coded specifically. For the coding procedure (see Appendix C), we
will begin with briefly scanning each article yielded from search keywords to check for its
relevance based on the inclusion criteria listed above. During the process, the searcher will
add all articles that meet the criteria into the searched articles tab. For each paper in the
searched article tab, one group member will download a copy and place the file in a
collaborative cloud folder. All downloaded full-texts will be saved in a shared cloud folder
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 23
using the following format: first author last name-year-journal abbreviation-first five words
of the title (e.g., Stroessner-1990-PSPB-Effects of belief in free).
After scanning the paper, the team member will indicate if this article should be
included in our main coding sheet or not. If not, a specific failed inclusion criteria or
exclusion criteria will be indicated in the searched article tab (e.g., if statistics are not
reported or if outcomes cannot be classified as prosocial, norm adherence, or personal). If the
paper meets the inclusion criteria, the coordinator will add the article in the main coding sheet
assigning to one of the group members as indicated in the coding sheet. This may or may not
be the same person that searched the paper and determined that it met the initial inclusion
criteria outlined above.
In the event that the person coding finds that the paper is not suitable given the
inclusion and exclusion criteria, the coder must indicate that the article or study will not be
included in the analysis and the reason (again indicated a specific failed inclusion criteria or
exclusion criteria in the column reason for exclusion). Each article will be coded by a
member of the group and checked by a separate member, to be finalized by a coordinator. In
case of a disagreement in coding, the two coders will examine a possible source for error, and
if there is one, will remedy and document. In case of a disagreement with no found errors, the
coordinator or a third coder will make a decision. Gaps and inconsistencies identified will be
documented and decisions will be reported in detail in the “decision documentation” tab of
the coding sheet. The coding procedure will also be updated to address future similar
situations. Coordinator will split coding and checking duties among team members, and the
coordinator will randomly check entries at the end. Any discrepancy will be reported to the
coordinator, the coordinator will provide input or ask a third member of the team to provide a
perspective. If the coordinator is uncertain, he or she will ask one of the senior investigators
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 24
to assist with the issue. For data collection and analysis pipeline see "Overview" tab of the
Coding Spreadsheet.
Figure 2
Meta-analysis flow diagram (adapted from PRISMA 2009, Moher et al., 2009)
Analysis Plan
We are examining the relationship between free will beliefs and three categories of
outcomes: The relationship between free will beliefs and interpersonal prosocial outcomes
(e.g., cooperation), the relationship between free will beliefs and interpersonal norm
adherence outcomes (e.g., punishment), and the relationship between free will beliefs and
personal outcomes (e.g., performance). We will assess norm adherence outcomes in
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 25
aggregate, and further segmenting into third party (e.g., blaming) and individual (e.g.,
cheating) outcomes.
We will use R and the metafor package for the statistical analyses (Viechtbauer,
2010). We will share all coding documentation and R/Rmarkdown code with reviewers and
the academic community using the Open Science Framework.
Confirmatory analyses
We will meta-analyze the overall strength of the relationship of free will beliefs and
the following variables, as measured by Pearson’s r: Prosocial outcomes, norm adherence
outcomes, and personal outcomes. Given the range of different outcomes for each category,
we expect the heterogeneity in the sample to be relatively high, and thus, a random effects
model will be used for all the dependent variables in the first and second relationship. Split
conditions due to possible moderators identified in the original studies will be collapsed to
allow for a comparison of the relationships. All conversions and coding decisions will be
documented, and the original text will be included in the coding sheet to allow for
reproducibility.
Forest plots presenting the effect size of each study will be produced. A meta-analysis
will examine the overall strength of the relationship between belief in free will and each of
the different categories of outcomes. An equivalence test will be conducted to examine
whether the effect size indicates a meaningful association, where a correlation of at least r
= .10 is expected (Cohen, 1988; Gignac & Szodorai, 2016; Lakens, 2016, 2017, 2018;
Schäfer & Schwarz, 2019).
Meta-regression will be conducted to examine the suggested moderators.
Additionally, considering the heterogeneous effects within this study, we will run multilevel
analyses. Depending on the level of heterogeneity, we will either collapse the effects or run a
multi-level meta-regression. This decision will be documented and justified based on our
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 26
observations of the final set of papers coded. Statistical heterogeneity will be determined
using the Tau2 test and quantified using I2, which represents the percentage of the total
variation in a set of studies that is due to heterogeneity (Higgins et al., 2003). This meta-
analysis will yield a point estimate, confidence interval, and p-value, along with statistics for
heterogeneity, assessed using the Q-statistics, and the I2 statistic. If there is indeed significant
heterogeneity, we will explore potential moderators.
Exploratory analyses
We expect to include more variables that are not listed in the pre-registered coding
sheet as possible moderators as we examine the literature. These additional moderator
analyses will be considered as exploratory and will most likely be conducted if tests of
homogeneity reveal significant heterogeneity among the studies included in our meta-
analysis.
Publication bias analysis
We will report findings for the presence of publication bias using multiple methods,
given that recent research has suggested that a combination of methods is the best approach
(Carter et al., 2019) We will include funnel plots and statistical tests for publication bias
(minimum: publication status as a moderator, compare effects for only published findings)
and asymmetry (minimum: trim and fill, rank test, Egger’s unweighted regression symmetry
test). We will also conduct a p-curve (Simonsohn et al., 2014; Simmons & Simonsohn, 2017)
and a p-uniform test (van Aert & van Assen, 2018).
In addition to the analyses outlined above, we will also explore measures that attempt
to quantify publication bias. We will accomplish this using several different measures
outlined briefly below. Precision-Effect Test (PET) and Precision-Effect Estimate with
Standard Error (PEESE) are both regression techniques built on the idea that publication bias
results in a small study effect such that statistically significant effect sizes from smaller
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 27
studies (i.e., smaller N) are larger and have larger standard errors than those from relatively
larger studies (Stanley & Doucouliagos, 2014). In other words, effect size positively
correlates with standard error. To adjust for this via the PET technique, the analyst regresses
effect size on standard error so that the intercept can be interpreted as the predicted effect size
when the standard error equals zero (i.e., a perfectly precise estimate). p-Curve exploits the
idea that the distribution of significant p- values resulting from tests of “true” effects will be
right skewed (i.e., higher frequencies of small p-values). As effects and sample sizes get
bigger, small p-values become more frequent and the distribution of significant p-valuesp-
curvebecomes more right-skewed. In contrast, null effects will produce significant p-values
that are uniformly distributed; that is, all sizes of significant p- values are equally likely when
the null is true. Thus, an analyst can glean the evidential value of a phenomenon from the
degree of right-skew in the observed p-curve. p-uniform is also based on only significant p-
values, but it employs a different estimation algorithm. Because these techniques make
similar assumptions about effect sizes and selection bias, they perform equally well under
similar conditions. However, unlike p- curve, the p-uniform technique provides confidence
intervals for the estimated effect size.
Open Science Disclosures
Data collection status
Data collection has not begun for this project.
Reporting
There are no other unreported/unlinked pre-registrations for this meta-analysis project.
Quality Control and Assurance
The collaborative group will be responsible for data quality. One researcher will read
all titles, abstracts and included papers to 1) determine study eligibility, and 2) conduct data
extraction. Another researcher will double check the paper selected. Disagreements will be
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 28
resolved through discussion with a third author. The coding document provides a mechanism
to ensure that verifications have been carried out. The coder must input his/her name in each
row as well as the date of the input. The entry will then be marked as coded. Following this,
a different group member will be assigned the task of verifying the data, and the verifier will
input his/her name in a different column in the row as well as the date of the verification. The
entry will then be marked as checked. In the event that the member verifying the entry finds
any discrepancy, the entry will be marked as being a discrepancy and the coordinator will
provide a third perspective, or ask another third member of the team to provide a perspective
(there is also a column to identify the third party). If the coordinator is uncertain, he or she
will ask one of the investigators to assist with the issue.
All documents will be kept in an open access cloud folder that is available for viewing
for all. This folder will contain all documents mentioned, including a copy of this pre-
registration, a copy of the completed coding sheet, a subfolder with copies of identified
papers, and a subfolder of PDF copies of coded papers.
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 29
Results
[Note: The following is meant as a rubric to simulate the expected results section prior to
search, coding, and analysis. We expect major changes to this section, yet we will - at
minimum, meet the reporting planned here.]
We conducted statistical analyses in R using the metafor package (Viechtbauer,
2010). The data analysis R scripts were written and registered before viewing the data (see
osf URL; R version #.##; packages list, XXX). Meta-analysis forest plot is provided in Figure
3.
Six separate meta-analyses were conducted to examine the overall strength and
direction of the relationship, as measured by Pearson’s r, between belief in free-will and
prosocial outcomes, norm adherence outcomes (third party, individual, and aggregate), and
personal outcomes. We also ran a meta-analysis for the aggregate interpersonal category,
including both prosocial and norm adherence outcomes.
In total there were k samples in n articles for prosocial outcomes, k samples in n
articles for norm adherence outcomes, and k samples in n articles for personal outcomes.
Standardized effect sizes were collected from authors of N original publications. For the
remaining N articles, descriptive statistics or inferential statistics were used to re-compute
standardized effect sizes.
Main results
Overall, we found that free will beliefs was <positively/negatively> related to
prosocial outcomes (ρ = x.xx [x.xx, x.xx]), <positively/negatively> related to norm adherence
outcomes (ρ = x.xx [x.xx, x.xx]), and <positively/negatively> related to personal outcomes (ρ
= x.xx [x.xx, x.xx]). At the aggregate level for interpersonal outcomes, we found that free
will beliefs was <positively/negatively> related to interpersonal outcomes (ρ = x.xx [x.xx,
x.xx]). Digging deeper into norm adherence outcomes, we found that free will beliefs was
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 30
<positively/negatively> related to third party evaluations (ρ = x.xx [x.xx, x.xx]), and
<positively/negatively> related to individual behavior (ρ = x.xx [x.xx, x.xx]).
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 31
Belief in free-will and X outcomes
[Note: Section template per each outcome type]
Meta-analytic estimates showed that belief in free-will was <positively | negatively>
correlated with self-serving outcomes ρ = x.xx [x.xx, x.xx].
Exploratory Analyses
This section will elaborate on findings from moderation and exploratory analyses.
Moderator results
TBD
Publication bias results
TBD
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 32
Table 1
Free will beliefs and outcomes: Study summary and effects (k = XX)
Article
Study
Category
Sub-category
IV
DV
Moderator X
Effect size g
+ CIs
#
Authors
(Year)
<interperson
al/personal>
<prosocial/norm-
adherence-third
party/norm
adherence-
individual>
Measure
XX
#
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 33
Figure 3
Meta analysis forest plot
[insert meta-analysis forest plot here]
Note. Forest plot with the distribution of effect sizes for association between belief in free-
will social-serving outcomes. Effect sizes for each study are depicted by the positioning of
the filled square on the x-axis; the sizes of the squares represents the weight of the study. The
vertical line with the value 0 is the line of no effect. The bars correspond with the 95% CI of
the effect size (outer edges of polygon indicating limits of the CI. CI = Confidence Interval;
RE Model = random-effects model
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 34
The sample of studies had no / little / substantial heterogeneity (tau2 = XX, Q(XX) = ,
p = XX) with I2 = XX. [If Q test approached significance]: Based on these indices, meta-
regressions were conducted to test the following potential moderators - cultural distance,
cultural tightness, and measures. Meta-regression results indicated a <significant | non-
significant> effect of cultural distance (b = X, 95% CI: XX to YY, p = X). [If significant]:
The relationship between belief in free-will and social-serving outcomes was <larger |
smaller> for greater cultural distance. For cultural tightness, meta-regression results indicated
a <significant | non-significant> effect (b = X, 95% CI: XX to YY, p = X). [If significant]:
The relationship between belief in free-will and social-serving outcomes was <larger |
smaller> for tighter cultures. Lastly, meta-regression showed a <significant | non-significant>
effect of measure.
Various analyses were conducted to test for publication bias. The results are presented
in Table 2. Funnel plots are presented in Figure 4 and 5 (by Trim and Fill method). The
findings suggested <no | possible> publication bias in favor of the effect. [If publication bias
present]: Corrections for publication bias showed that the relationship between belief in free-
will and social-serving outcomes was ρ = x.xx [x.xx, x.xx] (Puniform), ρ = x.xx [x.xx, x.xx]
(three-parameter selection model), ρ = x.xx [x.xx, x.xx] (Henmi & Copas), ρ = x.xx [x.xx,
x.xx] (Trim and fill).
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 35
Table 2
Publication bias analyses results
Publication bias analyses method
Results and adjusted models
Three-parameter selection method
Likelihood ratio test: XX, p = XX
Adjusted model: ρ = x.xx [x.xx, x.xx]
PET
b = XX [XX, YY], p = XX
PEESE
b = XX [XX, YY], p = XX
Puniform
Adjusted model: ρ = x.xx [x.xx, x.xx] XX
significant
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 36
Figure 4
Free will beliefs and [X type] outcomes: Funnel plot with Trim and Fill Method
[Insert funnel plot]
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 37
We also conducted a p-curve analysis (Simonsohn et al., 2014; Simmons &
Simonsohn, 2017) to quantify the evidence in support of the relationship (see Figure 6). With
an estimated power of X% (X% CI: XX% to YY%]), we conclude that based on the
combination test (Simonsohn et al., 2015) there <was | was no> evidential value for the
effect. The binomial test of right skew <was | was not> significant (z = full p-curve XX/half
p-curve XX, p = XX). The binomial test of whether the evidential value is adequate <rejected
| did not reject> the hypothesis (flatter than 33% power: z = full p-curve XX/half p-curve XX,
p = XX).
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 38
Figure 5
Free will beliefs and [X type] outcomes: P-curve analysis summary
[Insert p-curve plot]
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 39
Discussion
Placeholder for discussion section.
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 40
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Appendix A: Meta-Analysis process
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 56
Appendix B: Meta-Analysis Search
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 57
Appendix C: Meta-analysis coding
Belief in free will and outcomes: Meta-analysis 58
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The papers contained in this special issue were first presented at the third in a series of conferences organized by the Justice Without Retribution Network. The conference was held at Ghent University on June 2-3, 2017 and was co-sponsored by the Bioethics Institute Ghent. The Justice Without Retribution Network is a joint effort of the University of Aberdeen School of Law, which houses the network, Cornell University, Ghent University, and SUNY Corning and is co-directed by Elizabeth Shaw, Gregg Caruso, Farah Focquaert, and Derk Pereboom. The network brings together leading scholars and promising early career researchers from law, philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience to investigate whether non-retributive approaches to criminal behavior are ethically defensible and practically workable. For more information on the network, visit our website.
Article
Free will is often appraised as a necessary input to for holding others morally or legally responsible for misdeeds. Recently, however, Clark and colleagues (2014) argued for the opposite causal relationship. They assert that moral judgments and the desire to punish motivate people's belief in free will. Three replication experiments (Studies 1-2b) attempt to reproduce these findings. Additionally, a novel experiment (Study 3) tests a theoretical challenge derived from attribution theory, which suggests that immoral behaviors do not uniquely influence free will judgments. Instead, our nonviolation model argues that norm deviations of any kind-good, bad, or strange-cause people to attribute more free will to agents. Across replication experiments we found no consistent evidence for the claim that witnessing immoral behavior causes people to increase their general belief in free will. By contrast, we replicated the finding that people attribute more free will to agents who behave immorally compared to a neutral control (Studies 2a and 3). Finally, our novel experiment demonstrated broad support for our norm-violation account, suggesting that people's willingness to attribute free will to others is malleable, but not because people are motivated to blame. Instead, this experiment shows that attributions of free will are best explained by people's expectations for norm adherence, and when these expectations are violated, people infer that an agent expressed their free will to do so. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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Does belief in free will free or freeze decision-making? The existentialist hypothesis, rooted in views of free will as a source of anguish and hesitation, would predict that free will impedes decisions by increasing indecisiveness. In contrast, the evolutionary hypothesis, rooted in views of free will as a driver of effective social functioning, would predict that free will facilitates decisions by reducing indecisiveness. Results of five studies using various measures of indecisiveness (trait) and indecision (state), various operationalizations of free will beliefs (measured and manipulated), and various decision tasks provide support to the evolutionary hypothesis. Belief in free will is consistently associated with lower indecisiveness. However, one boundary condition of this effect is that it is limited to individuals with high self-concept clarity. These findings contribute to the literature on indecisiveness and advance our knowledge about the benefits of belief in free will for decision-making.
Preprint
Previous research revealed a positive relation between belief in free will and life satisfaction. We examined this relation in a Western country other than the U.S (the Netherlands). The relation between belief in free will and life satisfaction was obtained, but qualified by questionnaire order. People seemed to indicate stronger free will beliefs when being satisfied. As hypothesized, the relation between belief in free will and life satisfaction was positive for people with high self-esteem, but somewhat negative for people with low self-esteem (Study 1). When manipulating self-esteem, mood dropped more for participants with stronger free will beliefs in the low self-esteem condition (Study 2). We did not replicate this finding in Study 3. In the U.S., no moderation by questionnaire order or self-esteem was found (Study 4). The relation between free will beliefs and life satisfaction may depend on people’s self-esteem and the (cultural) salience of free will beliefs.
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Paper and material here: https://osf.io/zvc4e/ As a result of recent calls to attend to the implicit processes that regulate health behaviors, the study of implicit attitudes and physical activity behavior has grown rapidly in the past decade. The aim of this study was to summarize existing evidence on the extent to which implicit attitudes toward physical activity are associated with physical activity behavior. A systematic literature review was performed to retrieve studies reporting both a measure of implicit attitudes and physical activity. For the meta-analysis, effect size (Pearson’s r) were extracted from eligible studies or retrieved from authors. A total of 26 independent studies, and 55 effect sizes, were eligible. There was a small, significant, and positive correlation between implicit attitudes and physical activity, a finding replicated across multiple meta-analytical strategies with sensitivity analyses applied. This association was not significantly moderated by study design or objective, participants’ age or other characteristics, or measures of implicit attitudes or physical activity. This meta-analysis provides evidence that implicit attitudes toward physical activity are positively associated with physical activity in adults to a small degree.