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Free will Vs Determinism
Factors that are suggested as determinants of behaviour in the following studies
Study Determinants of Behaviour
Milgram's Obedience Study The presence of an authority figure.
Zimbardo's Conformity Study The allocation of roles (Prisoner or Guard)
Bandura's Aggression Study The presence of an aggressive role model
Thigpen and Cleckley's case of Multiple The diagnosis of a multiple personality disorder
Problems with Free Will
The notion of free will is incompatible with Psychology's status as a science. Science
assumes cause and effect.
There are a range of drugs, illnesses and conditions that will control people's behaviour
Problems with Determinism
Determinism is controversial. For instance, if aggression is deterministic, does this mean
that aggressive people are not responsible for their own actions?
Taking a deterministic stance on life is not good for you. When an individual feels that they
have no control over their lives they are shown to feel more stress.
Clearly human beings are very complicated and it is unlikely that there is one determining
factor controlling behaviour. Our behaviour is likely to be controlled by a complex
relationship between many variables making isolating one variable in a study very difficult.
The determining factors in a study, where people know their behaviour is being investigated,
are likely to be different from real life determining factors. People's behaviour in a laboratory,
for instance, is often unnatural and affected by the strange environment.