It Is Belief in Dualism, and Not Free Will, That Best Predicts Helping: A Conceptual Replication and Extension of Baumeister et al. (2009)

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Previous research found that experimentally reducing people’s belief in free will affects social behaviors. However, more recent investigations could not replicate several findings in this literature. An explanation for the mixed findings is that free will beliefs are related to social behaviors on a correlational level, but experimental manipulations are not able to detect this relation. To test this interpretation, we conceptually replicated and extended a landmark study in the free will belief literature originally conducted by Baumeister et al. In five studies (total N = 1,467), we investigated whether belief in free will predicts helping behavior in comparison to other beliefs related to free will. Overall, our results support the original findings, as belief in free will correlated with helping behavior. However, the results also show that the best predictor of helping behavior is not belief in free will but belief in dualism. Theoretical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.

    Research areas

  • belief in determinism, belief in dualism, free will belief, helping, pro-social behavior
  • Psychology