Free will, temptation, and self-control: We must believe in free will. We have no choice

19 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2008

See all articles by Klaus Wertenbroch

Klaus Wertenbroch

INSEAD - Marketing

Joachim Vosgerau

Bocconi University

Sabrina Bruyneel

Carnegie Mellon University - David A. Tepper School of Business

Date Written: 2007

Abstract

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

Wertenbroch, Klaus and Vosgerau, Joachim and Bruyneel, Sabrina, Free will, temptation, and self-control: We must believe in free will. We have no choice (2007). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1094709 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1094709

Klaus Wertenbroch

INSEAD - Marketing ( email )

Boulevard de Constance
Fontainebleau, 77305
France
(33)(1)6071-2651 (Phone)
(33)(1)6074-6197 (Fax)

Joachim Vosgerau

Bocconi University ( email )

Via Sarfatti, 25
Milan, MI 20136
Italy

Sabrina Bruyneel (Contact Author)

Carnegie Mellon University - David A. Tepper School of Business ( email )

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
328
Abstract Views
2,208
rank
92,159
PlumX Metrics