Professor Jonathan W. SchoolerThe Scientific American article Free Will versus the Programmed Brain said
Many scientists and philosophers are convinced that free will doesn’t exist at all. According to these skeptics, everything that happens is determined by what happened before our actions are inevitable consequences of the events leading up to the action and this fact makes it impossible for anyone to do anything that is truly free. This kind of anti-free will stance stretches back to 18th century philosophy, but the idea has recently been getting much more exposure through popular science books and magazine articles. Should we worry? If people come to believe that they don’t have free will, what will the consequences be for moral responsibility?
In a clever new study, psychologists Kathleen Vohs at the University of Minnesota and Jonathan Schooler at the University of California at Santa Barbara tested this question by giving participants passages from The Astonishing Hypothesis, a popular science book by Francis Crick, a biochemist and Nobel laureate (as co-discoverer, with James Watson, of the DNA double helix).
Jonathan W. Schooler, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology,
University of California, Santa Barbara.
Jonathan earned his BA at Hamilton College in 1987 and his Ph.D. at the University of Washington in 1987. He joined the psychology faculty of the University of Pittsburgh as an assistant professor that same year and became a research scientist at Pittsburgh’s Learning Research and Development Center. Named a full professor in 2001, he moved on to the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 2004 as professor of psychology, Canada Research Chair in Social Cognitive Science, and senior investigator at UBC’s Brain Research Centre. In 2007 he joined the faculty at UCSB.
Jonathan pursues research on consciousness, memory, the relationship between language and thought, problem-solving, and decision-making. He is particularly interested in exploring phenomena that intersect between the empirical and the philosophical such as how fluctuations in people’s awareness of their experience mediate mind-wandering and how exposing individuals to philosophical positions alters their behavior.
A fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, he was also an Osher Fellow at the Exploratorium Science Museum in San Francisco. His work has been supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, the Unilever Corporation, the Center for Consciousness Studies, the Office of Educational Research, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Institute for Health Research, the Bial Foundation, and the Bower Foundation. He currently is on the editorial boards of Consciousness and Cognition and Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.
Jonathan is the author or coauthor of more than one hundred papers published in scientific journals or edited volumes and was the editor (with J.C. Cohen) of Scientific Approaches to Consciousness, which was published in 1997 by Lawrence Erlbaum.
He authored Verbalization Produces a Transfer Inappropriate Processing Shift and Re-representing Consciousness: Dissociations Between Experience and Meta-consciousness, and coauthored The Reality of Recovered Memories, The Value of Believing in Free Will, The Restless Mind, Perceptual and conceptual training mediate the verbal overshadowing effect in an unfamiliar domain, Experience, Meta-consciousness, and the Paradox of Introspection, Deciphering the Enigmatic Face: The Importance of Facial Dynamics in Interpreting Subtle Facial Expressions, and Time went by so slowly: Overestimation of event duration by males and females.