Is belief in free will a cultural universal?

Hagop Sarkissian, Amita Chatterjee, Felipe De brigard, Joshua Knobe, Shaun Nichols, Smita Sirker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

164 Scopus citations


Recent experimental research has revealed surprising patterns in people's intuitions about free will and moral responsibility. One limitation of this research, however, is that it has been conducted exclusively on people from Western cultures. The present paper extends previous research by presenting a cross-cultural study examining intuitions about free will and moral responsibility in subjects from the United States, Hong Kong, India and Colombia. The results revealed a striking degree of cross-cultural convergence. In all four cultural groups, the majority of participants said that (a) our universe is indeterministic and (b) moral responsibility is not compatible with determinism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)346-358
Number of pages13
JournalMind and Language
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics and Language


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