Free will, temptation, and self-control: We must believe in free will. We have no choice
19 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2008
Date Written: 2007
Baumeister, Sparks, Stillman, and Vohs (2007), sketch a theory of free will as the human ability to exert self-control. Self-control can produce goal-directed behavior, which free will conceptualized as random behavior cannot. We question whether consumer psychology can shed light on the ontological question of whether free will exists. We suggest that it is more fruitful for consumer psychology to examine consumer's belief in free will. Specifically, we propose that this belief arises from customers' phenomenological experience of exercising self-control in the face of moral or inter-temporal conflicts of will. Based on extant literature in philosophy, psychology, and economics, we offer both a narrower conceptualization of the nature of self-control problems and a more general conceptualization of self-control strategies, involving not only willpower but also precommitment. We conclude with a discussion of the consequences of consumer's belief in free will.
Keywords: Research, Theory, Self-control, Behavior, IT, Experience, philosophy, Economics, Problems, Strategy
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation