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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Development and Testing of a Multi-component Emotion Induction Method
by Polifroni, Mark, Ph.D., The Ohio State University, 2006, 136; 10835718
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this research was two-fold. First, I attempted to develop and test a method to induce discrete emotional states (anger, fear, and disgust) in experimental participants using visual and physical stimuli. Second, I intended to assess the effect of the emotional induction manipulation on participant's appraisal of, and approach tendencies toward, a novel/ambiguous situation and/or target individual/group.

The design of this induction method draws from multi-component theories of emotion, specifically, emotion appraisal, action tendencies, and embodiment theory. The multi-component appraisal theory of emotion describes emotional experience as arising from visceral reaction, cognitive appraisal, physiological arousal and proprioceptive cues. Theories of emotion action-tendencies suggest that discrete appraisal patterns yield the experience of discrete emotional states leading to predictable response tendencies. Embodiment theory suggests that emotion-relevant information is available not only in the form of cognition, but across many modalities.

By manipulating the cognitive component of emotion with general physiological arousal and proprioceptive cues via participant experience of approach/avoidance, I endeavored to create an emotional state that would be outside of participant awareness and would be projected onto a target. The results of the study lend support to the theories from which this method was conceived, but suggested some important modifications. Findings of interest were obtained mostly from the conditions designed to elicit fear. Higher frequency of fear response endorsements on the open-ended measure was observed in the “inconsistent” fear/step forward condition, counter to my prediction that emotion would be intensified in the consistent conditions (i.e.., fear/step back). Participant ratings of discomfort were elevated when approaching a fear-evoking stimulus. These effects were obtained for female participants only. For male participants, the opposite was true: avoiding a fear-evoking stimulus created increased discomfort. These findings are not inconsistent with the basic premise of embodiment theory, namely that multiple information sources inform one's experiential state. Overall, the results of these studies suggest that emotion theory in general, and theories of emotion action tendencies specifically, should be broadened to include a wider range of information that informs emotional experience as well as emotional response.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Brewer, Marilynn
School: The Ohio State University
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-B 79/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology, Quantitative psychology
Keywords: Action tendencies, Approach/avoidance, Emotion
Publication Number: 10835718
ISBN: 978-0-355-96699-2
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