Does belief in free will make us feel good and satisfied?
More details
Hide details
Submission date: 2017-01-02
Final revision date: 2017-04-03
Acceptance date: 2017-05-04
Online publication date: 2018-01-30
Publication date: 2018-01-30
Health Psychology Report 2018;6(2):109–117
Recent studies have shown that maintaining a strong belief in free will may be associated with well-being at the workplace (Stillman, Baumeister, Vohs, Lambert, Fincham, & Brawer, 2010), more frequent attainment of pursued goals and emotional stability (Stillman, Baumeister, & Mele, 2011).

Participants and procedure:
Two studies were conducted to investigate to what extent belief in free will (as opposed to belief in determinism) may be a good predictor of subjective well-being and ill-being (poor health condition). Study 1 investigated a sample of employees (N = 214): 106 women and 108 men. The second research was conducted among 436 students: 236 women and 198 men.

The results of study 1 showed that those who believe in free will are satisfied with their lives and feel healthy. The results of study 2 showed that those who believe in free will feel better (have more positive emotions) and are more satisfied with their lives than those who believe in determinism.

Belief in free will has the potential for improving subjective well-being and belief in determinism (fate) lowers subjective well-being. What is more, the current study has also confirmed the results obtained by other researchers (Paulhus & Carey, 1994, Carey & Paulhus, 2013). The reliability of the free will subscale was replicated. Also, we confirmed a positive correlation between belief in free will and unpredictability, and between fatalistic determinism and unpredictability. The results of the present research proved that there is a need to develop and to promote belief in free will in societies and social policies because it can increase well-being.

Alquist, J., Ainsworth, S., & Baumeister, R. (2013). Determined to conform: disbelief in free will increases conformity. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49, 80–86.
Baumeister, R. F., Masicampo, E. J., & Dewall, C. N. (2009). Prosocial benefits of feeling free: disbelief in free will increases aggression and reduces helpfulness. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35, 260–268.
Brzozowski, P. (2010). Skala uczuć pozytywnych i negatywnych SUPIN. Polska adaptacja skali PANAS D. Watson i L.A. Clark [Positive and Negative Affect: The Polish adaptation of PANAS Scales D. Watson i L.A. Clark]. Warszawa: Pracownia testów Psychologicznych Polskiego Towarzystwa Psychologicznego.
Cantril, H. (1965). Pattern of human concerns. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.
Carey, J. M., & Paulhus, D. L. (2013). Worldview implications of believing in free will and/or determinism: politics, morality and punitiveness. Journal of Personality Assessment, 81, 130–141. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2012.00799.x.
Crescioni, A. W., Baumeister, R. F., Ainsworth, S. E., Ent, M., & Lambert, N. M. (2016). Subjective correlates and consequences of belief in free will. Philosophical Psychology, 29, 41–63.
Czapiński, J., & Panek, T. (2009). Diagnoza społeczna. Warunki i jakość życia Polaków [Social Diagnosis: objective and subjective quality of life in Poland]. Warszawa: Rada Monitoringu Społecznego.
Diener, E. (1984). Subjective well-being. Psychological Bulleting, 95, 542–575.
Dienier, E. Suh, E. M., Lucas R. E., & Smith, H. L. (1999). Subjective well-being – three decades of progress. Psychological Bulletin, 125, 276–301.
Kondratowicz-Nowak, B., Zawadzka A. M., Wierzbicki, J. (2014a). Przekonanie o posiadaniu wolnej woli i jego korelaty w kontekście pracy i organizacji [Belief in free will and its correlates in the context of work], referat wygłoszony na XXXV Zjeździe PTP, 18–21 wrzesień, Bydgoszcz.
Kondratowicz-Nowak, B., Zawadzka, A. M., & Wierzbicki, J. (2014b). Jak przekonanie o wolnej woli vs. determinizmie wiąże się z dobrostanem psychicznym? [How is belief in free will vs. determinism related to well-being?], referat wygłoszony na IV konferencji Psychologia – konsumpcja – jakość życia pt. “Cena idei – idea ceny: merkantylne regulacje współczesności”, 17–18 październik, Katowice.
Li, C., Wang, S., Zhao, Y., Kong, F., & Li, J. (2017). The freedom to pursue happiness: Belief in free will predicts life satisfaction and positive affect among Chinese adolescents. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 2027.
MacKenzie, M., Vohs, K., & Baumeister, R. (2014). You don’t have to do that: belief in free will promotes gratitude. Personality and Social Bulletin, 40, 1–12.
Paulhus, D. L., & Margesson, A. (1994). Free Will and Scientific Determinism (FAD-4) scale. [Unpublished instrument]. Vancouver, BC, Canada: University of British Columbia.
Paulhus, D. L., & Carey, J. M. (2011). The FAD-Plus: Measuring lay beliefs regarding free will and related constructs. Journal of Personality Assessment, 93, 96–104.
Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitaion of intrinsic motivatio, social developmant, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55, 68–78.
Ryff, C. D. (1989). Happiness is everything, or is It? Explorations on the meaning of psychlogical well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 1069–1081.
Seligman, M. E. P., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology. American Psychologist, 55, 5–14.
Stillman, T. F., Baumeister, R. F., & Melle, A. R. (2011). Free will in everyday life: autobiographical accounts of free and unfree actions. Philosophical Psychology, 24, 381–394.
Stillman, T. F., Baumeister, R. F., Vohs, K. T., Lambert, N. M., Fincham, F. D., & Brewer, L. E. (2010). Personal philosophy and personnel achievement: belief in free will predicts better job performance. Social Psychological and Personality Scince, 1, 43–50.
Vohs, K., & Schooler, J. (2008). The value of believing in free will: Encouraging a belief in determinism increases cheating. Psychological Science, 19, 49–54. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02045.x.
Zawadzki, B., Strelau, J., Szczepaniak, P., & Śliwińska, M. (2007). Inwentarz Osobowości NEO FFI Paula Costy i R. McCrae. Adaptacja polska [The NEO FFI Personality Inventory by Paul Costa & R. McCrae. Polish adaptation]. Warszawa: Pracownia Testów Psychologicznych Polskiego Towarzystwa Psychologicznego.
Copyright: © Institute of Psychology, University of Gdansk This is an Open Access journal, all articles are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/), allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.