Addiction and free will

Kathleen D. Vohs, Roy F. Baumeister

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Whether people believe that they have control over their behaviors is an issue that is centrally involved in definitions of addiction. Our research demonstrates that believing in free will - that is, believing that one has control over one's actions - has societal implications. Experimentally weakening free will beliefs led to cheating, stealing, aggression, and reduced helping. Bolstering free will beliefs did not change participants' behavior relative to a baseline condition, suggesting that most of the time people possess a belief in free will. We encourage a view of addiction that allows people to sustain a belief in free will and to take responsibility for choices and actions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-235
Number of pages5
JournalAddiction Research and Theory
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2009


  • Attribution
  • Belief
  • Free will

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