Belief in free will & perceived intentions

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Description: The question of whether free will actually exists has been debated in philosophy for centuries. However, how belief in free will shapes the perception of our social environment still remains open. Here we investigate whether belief in free will affects how much intentionality we attribute to other people. Study 1a and 1b demonstrate a weak positive relation between the strength of belief in free will and the perceived intentionality of soccer players committing handball. This pattern even holds for behavior that is objectively not intentional (i.e., when the player touches the ball accidentally). Going one step further, in Study 2 we find a weak correlation between belief in free will and perceiving intentions in very abstract geometrical shapes.

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