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Functional Freedom: A Psychological Model of Freedom in Decision-Making

Department of Psychology, Florida State University, 1107 Call Street, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA
Department of Psychology, University of Greifswald, Franz-Mehring-Straße 47, Greifswald D-17487, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Behav. Sci. 2017, 7(3), 41;
Received: 30 April 2017 / Revised: 20 June 2017 / Accepted: 30 June 2017 / Published: 5 July 2017
PDF [492 KB, uploaded 5 July 2017]
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The freedom of a decision is not yet sufficiently described as a psychological variable. We present a model of functional decision freedom that aims to fill that role. The model conceptualizes functional freedom as a capacity of people that varies depending on certain conditions of a decision episode. It denotes an inner capability to consciously shape complex decisions according to one’s own values and needs. Functional freedom depends on three compensatory dimensions: it is greatest when the decision-maker is highly rational, when the structure of the decision is highly underdetermined, and when the decision process is strongly based on conscious thought and reflection. We outline possible research questions, argue for psychological benefits of functional decision freedom, and explicate the model’s implications on current knowledge and research. In conclusion, we show that functional freedom is a scientific variable, permitting an additional psychological foothold in research on freedom, and that is compatible with a deterministic worldview. View Full-Text
Keywords: free will; freedom; decision-making; underdetermination; volition; consciousness free will; freedom; decision-making; underdetermination; volition; consciousness

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Lau, S.; Hiemisch, A. Functional Freedom: A Psychological Model of Freedom in Decision-Making. Behav. Sci. 2017, 7, 41.

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