Determined To Conform? Addressing The Need To Replicate Free Will Effects

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Rebecca Nicole Smith (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Andrew Monroe

Abstract: (Dis)belief in free will has been associated with a host of behavioral outcomes. One such association links free will belief and (lack of) conformity (Alquist, Ainsworth, & Baumeister, 2013). Despite a considerable array of findings linking free will beliefs to changes in human behavior, several recent attempts to replicate high-profile findings have failed (Open Science Collaboration, 2015). The present work is a close replication of Alquist et al.’s (2013) Study 2 which demonstrated that threatening belief in free will increased the tendency to conform. Participants (N=129) were assigned to one of three conditions: anti-free will, pro-free will, or control. After manipulating belief in free will, participants rated six abstract paintings that had been previously rated by 23 ostensible participants. The results failed to replicate Alquist and colleagues work in several ways. First, the manipulation produced inconsistent findings, such that belief in free will as measured by the Free Will and Determinism scale showed no effect of the free will manipulation. Second, we failed to find any effect of the free will manipulation on conformity. We conclude that these results highlight the contention in moral psychological literature that free will effects may not be as reliable as was previously believed.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Smith, R. (2019). Determined To Conform? Addressing The Need To Replicate Free Will Effects. Unpublished Honors Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2019
Free Will, Conformity, Social Influence, Beliefs

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