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Conscious Cogn. 2016 Nov;46:47-59. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2016.09.003. Epub 2016 Sep 24.

Free love? On the relation between belief in free will, determinism, and passionate love.

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Univ. Grenoble Alpes, France. Electronic address:
Univ. Grenoble Alpes, France.
University of Geneva, Switzerland.


Is love possible if we are not free? Some philosophers consider that true love is necessarily free, while others think that the nature of love makes it incompatible with a certain type of freedom. Here, we explored the relationship between feelings of passionate love, belief in free will and determinism across three online studies. In Study 1 (N=257), participants who believed strongly in free will (or determinism) expressed stronger passionate love. In Study 2 (N=305), we again found a positive association between belief in free will (or determinism) and passionate love, although the passionate love-determinism relationship seems more conditional. Finally, Study 3 (N=309) confirmed the relationship between belief in free will and passionate love but not between belief in determinism and passionate love. These findings, along with a meta-analysis, suggest that both beliefs in free will and determinism are compatible with passionate love.


Determinism; Free will; Passionate love; Romantic relationships

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