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ERIC Number: EJ1007172
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-May
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
When Errors Do Not Matter: Weakening Belief in Intentional Control Impairs Cognitive Reaction to Errors
Rigoni, Davide; Wilquin, Helene; Brass, Marcel; Burle, Boris
Cognition, v127 n2 p264-269 May 2013
The belief that one can exert intentional control over behavior is deeply rooted in virtually all human beings. It has been shown that weakening such belief--e.g. by exposure to "anti-free will" messages--can lead people to display antisocial tendencies. We propose that this cursory and irresponsible behavior may be facilitated by a breakdown of neurocognitive mechanisms underlying behavioral adjustments. In the study reported here, we tested the hypothesis that weakening belief in intentional control reduces cognitive markers of behavioral control. Participants performed a Simon task before and after reading a scientific text either denying free will (no-free will group) or not mentioning free will (control group). Results showed that the post-error slowing, a cognitive marker of performance adjustment, was reduced in the no-free will group. This reduction was proportional to a decrease of the belief in intentional control. These observations indicate that weakening the belief in free will can impact behavioral adjustment after an error, and could be the cause of antisocial and irresponsible behavior. (Contains 2 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A