Free will and determinism

Mind Map by pkayy11, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by pkayy11 about 6 years ago


Psychology (Debates in Psychology) Mind Map on Free will and determinism, created by pkayy11 on 01/23/2014.

Resource summary

Free will and determinism
1 Basic argument
1.1 Supporters of determinism - an individual's behaviour couldn't have been different in a given situation if they had willed it
1.2 Supporters of free will - an individual's behaviour could have been different in a given situation if they had willed it
2 Biological determinism - all behaviour and thought is caused by the nervous system and genetic factors
2.1 Internal determinism - belief in the internal causes of behaviour eg. internal biological factors and mental processes are seen as causes of behaviour
2.2 Instinctive needs (eat, drink, sleep) - can choose when but cannot avoid the fact that each of these behaviours are essential for our survival; no choice as these behaviours are determined
2.3 Controlling role of the different parts of the brain - hypothalamus (small structure at the base of the forebrain) controls many aspects of behaviour i.e water and food intake, agressive responses; language functions are predominately located in the left hemisphere of the brain - Broca's area is involved in speech production and Wernicke's area in the understanding of speech
2.3.1 No amount of willing can help someone with damage to either of these areas overcome the devastating effect on language
2.4 Hormonal system - research has implicated the synthetic form of oestrogen in sexual preference and behaviour; (Meyer-Bahlburg et al.) 7/30 adult women whose mothers had taken the synthetic hormone to prevent miscarriage reported some degree of same-sex or bisexual interest; only 1 woman in the control group of 30 women whose mothers had not taken the synthetic oestrogen when pregnant reported same-sex interest - sexual preference may not necessarily be the result of free choice
2.5 Evolutionary forces - fight or flight response by which animals and humans prepare them to deal with environmental demands can be explained from an evolutionary perspective; some situations individual may respond by freezing or fainting; behaviours are determined
2.6 Genes - numerous twin studies have pointed towards a genetic predisposition in behaviours such as depression and schizophrenia; biological determinism - often advanced as an argument for the absence of free will in schizophrenia
2.7 Places limits on behaviours beyond the capacity of human body i.e. flying
2.8 Incorrect to speak purely of 'biological determinism' - also considers the interaction of biology and the environment; people are determined biologically and environment
3 Psychic determinism - all thought and behaviour is caused by unconscious forces associated with the life and death instincts
3.1 Internal determinism
3.2 Humans are biologically determined by strong inherent instincts of sex and aggression and by repressed conflicts, childhood experiences, wishes and memories within the unconscious mind - mental activity is a result of unconscious mental processes
3.3 Freud - no accidents as unconscious causes can always account for them; people believe they are free but free will is an illusion
3.4 Overdetermination - much of our behaviour, thoughts and feelings have multiple causes
3.4.1 Dreams - caused by many factors in the life of the dreamer such as 'residue of the day' (superficial memories), deeply repressed conflicts, unconscious wishes etc.; caused implications in psychoanalysis because one had to always search beyond the first unconscious causes
4 Environmental determinism - all behaviour is under the control of environmental stimuli and external forces of reward and punishment
4.1 External determinism - behaviours a result of the environment (behaviourist)
4.2 Research into social influence (Asch; Milgram) demonstrates the power of the situation and how social factors can have strong causal effect on behaviour
4.3 Behaviourist approach (extreme environmental determinism) - product of prior reinforcements (positive and negative) and punishment; Skinner - free will is an illusion; theoretical basis of behaviourism lies in laboratory research involving animals - humans are considered to be qualitatively different (conscience-wise) and mechanistic laboratory behaviour lacking ecological validity
4.4 Skinner - the successful conditioning of behaviour does not require any element of free will, just consistent reinforcement; behaviour is moulded by agents of socialisation (parents, teachers); no such thing as personal freedom and causes of behaviour are often found in the environment
5 Evaluation
5.1 + Determinism is compatible with the scientific method - supports the idea of psychology as a science
5.2 + Determinism claims that our behaviour is a result of prior causes - predict and ultimately control behaviour
5.3 - False assumption that accurate predictions of behaviour are possible; human behaviour is uncertain
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