Carlson School of Management News

Vohs Receives Grant to Study Psychology of Free Will

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Kathleen Vohs, the Land O'Lakes Professorship for Excellence in Marketing, has received a grant of $293,209 from the John Templeton Foundation for her work with colleagues Thomas Nadelhoffer (Dickinson College), Eddy Nahmias (Georgia State University), and Jonathan Schooler (University of British Columbia).

The project being funded is entitled "The Psychology of Free Will: Beliefs About Free Will and Behavioral Effects of Altering Those Beliefs." The specific aims of this proposal are to demonstrate (1) how people's beliefs about free well interact with their beliefs about determinism, reductionism, dualism, moral responsibility, punishment, and related concepts; and (2) how people's beliefs and behaviors change in response to information about the existence or non-existence of free will, as well as other assumptions that may be enmeshed with beliefs about free will.

Initial studies will measure people's beliefs about free will using an improved free will scale and questionnaire. Behavioral studies will then use this scale to measure the effects that altering people's beliefs about free will has on various types of self-control and social behavior.

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