Science

Belief In Free Will Could Lead To Happiness

By Ayin Badz , Jan 24, 2017 03:04 AM EST
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Asian and Western cultures have difference regarding the belief of free will. According to a new research published in Frontiers in Psychology, Jingguang Li, professor at Dali University, and his research team show that the life in free will could be a key to happiness. They found that 85 percent of Chinese teenagers expressed a belief in free will and is correlated with happiness.
Free will is the ability to make an independent choice of making a decision that is not affected by past events. The existence of free will is the subject of debate among psychologists, neuroscientists and philosophers. The argument about free will is that each decision we make is completely influenced by our previous life experience. Therefore it is not a free choice or decision or a free will.
The elements that affect our free will are personal responsibility, guilt, ambition and forward planning. Appealing previous study of the Western participants shows that people who believe in free will are happier. Li and his team were curious enough to learn if the belief in free will also affect the happiness of Chinese people.
Why would the results show differently in China? Because psychology research show that Western and Asian cultures has a total different core beliefs about free will. Western culture is much focused on individual achievements. While Asian culture is focused on group goals and competition is common.
According to the Science Daily, previous studies about belief in free will of people in Western countries shows that they are mostly the ones that increased happiness, better work performance and academic achievements and less negative behaviors such as cheating. In contrast, those that do not have belief in free will has been associated with a subsequent increase in cheating behavior, aggression and decreased self-control. To address the matter in their own sample of Chinese teenagers, Li and his team gave them each a series of questions about their own belief in free will and their level of happiness.
The result also showed that the belief in free will can lead to happiness regardless of individualistic or collectivistic cultural influences. According to the Eurekalert, A belief that someone can act freely to achieve their goals and desires may increase levels of perceived autonomy and help facilitate self-control and deliberate effort to achieve goals, leading to successful outcomes. If belief in free will can really lead to happiness, then psychologists could develop training programs with this in mind set.

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