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Psychology

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Emotion

College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

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Affective And Deliberative Processes In Decision Making: Option Framed Scenarios, Charles E. Drehmer Nov 2016

Affective And Deliberative Processes In Decision Making: Option Framed Scenarios, Charles E. Drehmer

College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

As the internet becomes more widely used as a marketplace, consumers are increasingly faced with scenarios where they have to customize products by adding features to a base model or delete features from a fully loaded model, a phenomenon known as option framing. People can now customize their vacations, pizzas, personal computers, shoes and cars with the click of a mouse. Recent research has shown consumers will end up with more features and spend more money when they have to remove features from a fully loaded model versus adding features to a base model (Biswas, 2009; Park & Kim, 2012). Emotion may impact these decision processes. People typically use two modes of information processing: fast and intuitive or deliberate and analytical. Past research has shown positive and neutral emotions can lead people to use a fast and intuitive information processing mode while negative emotions can lead people to use a deliberate and analytical approach (Howard & Barry, 1994; Park & Banji, 2000; Samson & Voyer, 2012; Schwarz ...


Does Our Fear Of Death Stem From Threatened Belongingness?, Stan Treger Jun 2015

Does Our Fear Of Death Stem From Threatened Belongingness?, Stan Treger

College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

In this dissertation, I examine the relative contribution to worldview defense (i.e., upholding one’s cultural worldviews) provided by the thoughts of one’s death and perceptions of curbed close relationships.

The need to belong, to form meaningful and strong ties with others, is what many social psychologists believe to be one of the most fundamental and strongest motivations that humans possess (Baumeister, 2012; Baumeister & Leary, 1995; Kenrick, Griskevicius, Neuberg, & Schaller, 2010; Tomasello, 2014). The human brain is “hard-wired” to be around others (Beckes & Coan, 2011). In fact, large social group sizes of humans’ evolutionary past may have contributed to the large brain that modern humans possess today—a large brain with high cognitive ability is required to solve complex social problems such as attributing others’ mental states (Dunbar, 1998, 2003, 2009). Terror Management Theory (Greenberg & Arndt, 2012; Greenberg, Pyszczynski, & Solomon, 1986), however, suggests that humans’ high cognitive ability also allows for knowledge that death will inevitably arrive one day. This knowledge creates a state of “paralyzing” anxiety and drives what Terror Management Theorists believe to be the most fundamental of human motives: avoiding death. To overcome this anxiety, persons turn to their cultural worldviews to boost their self-esteem and assuage the existential crisis evoked by the thought of death.

Although Terror Management Theory has received an impressive array of empirical support since its introduction, it has left one particular and important question unaddressed: why is it that humans fear death? Rather, Terror Management Theory simply assumes that humans do so. One possible reason behind this fear reflects the human need to belong. Being ostracized or excluded by others may be one of the most painful experiences humans may face, physically and cognitively. For example, being ostracized can decrease one’s of meaning (Stillman, Baumeister, Lambert, Crescioni, DeWall, & Fincham, 2009). Distress following social exclusion may even equate to experiencing physical pain (e.g., DeWall & Baumeister, 2006; MacDonald & Leary, 2005). The negative effects of ostracism may extend to simply observing others being excluded (Wesselman, Bagg, & Williams, 2009). Collectively, the physical, emotional, and cognitive distress following ostracism is strong enough for some to call ostracism “social death” (Case & Williams, 2004; Williams, 2007a).

In this dissertation, I propose that “social” and “actual” death may not be too ...


From Crime To Punishment: Moral Violations And The Social Function Of Emotion, Michael Ray Brubacher Jun 2014

From Crime To Punishment: Moral Violations And The Social Function Of Emotion, Michael Ray Brubacher

College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Punishments that are issued by the criminal justice system can enhance factors related to recidivism or contribute to offender rehabilitation. Investigating the ecological element of public attitudes toward punishment can inform efforts of second-order change for reducing recidivism and improving offender and community wellbeing (Bronfenbrenner, 1979; Kelly, 1966; Watzlawick, Weakland, & Fisch, 1974).

The form and duration of punishments can be influenced by the goals that punishments are meant to achieve. Punishment goals include retribution, incapacitation, individual deterrence, general deterrence, rehabilitation, and restorative justice. Each of the goals can lead to sanctions that impact offender behavior differently yet substantive predictors of when the different goals are pursued have yet to be discovered.

An important stakeholder in the operations of the criminal justice system is the general public, and public opinions regarding sentencing practices can impact the punishments that are issued (Roberts, Stalans, Indermaur, & Hough, 2003). This paper will whether the moral characteristics of crimes along with social functional accounts of emotion can predict public support for the goals of punishment.

Social functionalist accounts of emotion suggest that different emotions are elicited by appraisals that are made of events in the environment. Emotions then lead to different action tendencies for responding to the appraisals. The action tendencies are goal oriented and may take the form of punishment goals.

The appraisal of a crime by the public can include an assessment of its moral qualities. Moral Foundations Theory suggests there are five categories of moral concern: harm, fairness, ingroup, authority, and purity (Haidt & Graham, 2007). This paper examined whether public appraisals of the five types of moral violation predict three appraisals of the offender: whether the offender committed an immoral act, whether the offender was morally incompetent, and whether the offender possessed an immoral nature. These secondary appraisals were then used to predict five emotions that people may experience when being informed of a crime: anger, fear, contempt, sympathy, and disgust. Finally, the emotions, each with their own goal-oriented action tendency, were used to predict the goals of punishment desired by the public.

Predicted relations between the appraisals, emotions, and punishment goals were combined to form a path model. To test the model, 546 participants completed an online survey and a path analysis of the model was conducted. A majority of the predicted relations were significant; however, the model did not fit the data. Additional analyses were then performed to develop a model that did fit the data.

Violations of authority and purity moral principles indirectly predicted support for all the punishment goals. Furthermore, while the appraisal of an immoral act lead to anger and support ...