Front Page Titles (by Subject) Free Will, Responsibility, and Motivation - Literature of Liberty, Summer 1980, vol. 3, No. 2
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Free Will, Responsibility, and Motivation - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, Summer 1980, vol. 3, No. 2 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Free Will, Responsibility, and Motivation
The Determinants of Free Will: A Psychological Analysis of Responsible, Adjustive Behavior. (New York: Academic Press, 1978.
The author describes freely willed behavior as occurring “whenever an individual has planfully created preferred changes in his environment.” Free will is conceptually linked with competence in striving to meet personal standards and with taking personal responsibility for one's actions. Such competence and responsibility depends upon a predictably responsive environment. Failure of will is associated with ineffective action, powerlessness, and neurosis.
An implicit theory of responsibility is presented in which a person's imputation of responsibility is described as a function of two factors: (a) intentional vs. unintentional, and (b) chosen vs. imposed. Responsibility exists in circumstances where people understand themselves to be in control of their actions, i.e., where their behavior appears intentional and chosen. In those instances where there are no inducing or impelling external influences evident, the causes of behavior are presumed to be internal. Responsibility is not imputed when behavior is generated either impulsively or in response to strong external pressures, even when the behavior is intentional.
Responsibility for behavior is associated with “proactive” (anticipatory) information processing and problem solving, rather than mere “reaction.” High drive states are associated with greater reactivity and, hence, less freedom of choice. In the process of learning methods to achieve drive reduction, the range of freedom is expanded.
The author also explores the relationship of responsibility to Rotter's concepts of internal and external locus of control of reinforcement. Individuals are shown to differ in the extent to which they perceive themselves to have freedom of will. Those claiming greater sense of choice report themselves as more satisfied, confident, and self-disciplined. They also scored higher on tests of information and intelligence.
Research connections between freedom of will and numerous psychological phenomena are discussed. These include achievement motivation, persuasion, conformity, social cooperation, and moral reasoning. The research on the antecedents of personal freedom indicates that individuals with a strong sense of internal control recall their parents as providing predictable, consistent discipline and informative, loving support for attempts to achieve independence. The social structures which promote freedom of choice and personal responsibility are identified as involving the extensive flow of information and trade. The more fluid a society, the greater value is placed on education and the greater is the likelihood of social cooperation.