Type of Thesis
Dr. Akira Miyake
Dr. Eliana Colunga
Dr. Charles Danforth
This study examined the effect self-affirmation has on a self-control task in a novel way. A dependent measure of self-control was created that tempts participants with an opportunity to cheat. Participants were given a generous incentive to do well on the dice game task, but in order to ‘win’ they had to cheat (i.e. fail to exhibit self-control). It was hypothesized that participants would be less likely to cheat in the affirmation condition because self-affirmation will have induced a higher mental construal and therefore improved self-control. An individual differences measure was included to examine a possible moderation effect based on individual’s natural self-control levels. It was hypothesized that those with natural high self-control will be less affected by the affirmation. Results indicated that even though more non-affirmed participants did cheat than self-affirmed participants, self-affirmation did not significantly improve self-control. Secondly, participants in the two groups did not significantly differ in mental construal. Furthermore, results presented an individual difference in inhibitory self-control levels, but this was not a successful moderating variable of self-control behavior. These results provided new evidence for self-affirmation effects on self-control, but mainly suggests that further research should be conducted that includes a distinct measure of self-control (e.g. a cheating opportunity) and encompasses an individual differences covariate to account for a possible moderation effect of natural self-control levels.
Gavel, Emily, "Effect of Self-Affirmation on Self-Control in a Cheating Context" (2017). Undergraduate Honors Theses. 1345.