Mainstream science tells us that all mental activities stem from brain activities. This apparently implies that people have no free will, because brain activities, which are physical events, cannot occur on their own and must have been determined by other physical events. What would be the consequences of denying free will? Why do US courts see a rise in defendants blaming their brains for criminal acts? Why is it that certain behaviors are perceived to be more mind-based than brain-based? Some of these questions are currently investigated in our on-going research. In particular, we study specifically what type of mind-body dualism laypeople endorse (Kim, Johnson, Ahn, & Knobe, under review), and whether mental health clinicians, who need to constantly think about interplay between the mind and brain, endorse mind-body dualism (Ahn, Proctor, & Flanagan, 2009; Kim, Ahn, Johnson, & Knobe, under review).
Ahn, W., Proctor, C. C., & Flanagan, E. H. (2009). Mental health clinicians’ beliefs about the biological, psychological, and environmental bases of mental disorders. Cognitive Science, 33, 147-182. PDF