Hot Coffee: The New Love Drug July 20, 2009Posted by Dwight Furrow in Dwight Furrow's Posts, Philosophy, Science.
Tags: determinism, free will
Research by Lawrence Williams and John A. Bargh suggests that positive attitudes towards a stranger are induced by holding a warm cup of coffee, in contrast to a chillier reception when holding a cup of ice coffee. They also discovered that holding a warm pad in hand made it more likely that experimental subjects would chose a gift for a friend rather than for themselves.
Apparently, our physical environment influences our preferences, unbeknownst to us.
I wonder what other subtle, seemingly inconsequential, environmental factors influence preferences.
Here is an earlier post detailing more studies of apparently determined behavior.
Experiments such as this do not prove that free will is an illusion. They point to general tendencies, not causally necessary outcomes, and nothing in these experiments suggest that when we become aware of these influences we can’t resist them.
But, nevertheless, if such experiments are scratching only the surface of a panoply of environmental effects that we are typically unaware of, the range of human freedom seems remarkably condensed.
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