Recent studies have shown that beliefs about the malleability of one’s personality traits can manifest as motivated reasoning within certain situations, but no studies have examined whether this motivated reasoning is a consequence of emotional states. Based on Gausel and Leach’s (2011) model on negative self-conscious emotions, we investigated this possibility by asking participants to relive a moral failure from the past year where they felt either guilt, shame, rejected, or inferior. We hypothesized that reliving a feeling shame or guilt would motivate participants to describe the Big Five trait they attributed most as a cause of their past moral failure as more malleable than their least attributed trait. We also hypothesized that feeling rejected or inferior would motivate participants to act defensively by describing their most attributed trait as less malleable than their least attributed trait. Participants who relived feeling guilt tended to describe their most attributed trait as more malleable than their least attributed trait, but this was not true for participants who relived a feeling shame, rejection, or inferiority. These results suggest that feeling guilt can elicit motivated reasoning about the malleability of one’s traits with implications beyond reparative behaviors following a moral failure.
A Plan B Project submitted to the faculty of the University of Minnesota Duluth by Jonathan Michael Rogers de Alcerro in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts from the College of Education and Human Service Professions, July 2019. Degree: Master of Arts in Psychological Science, Experimental track. Advisor: Robert Lloyd, Ph.D.
UMD Psychology Department Internal Grant
Rogers de Alcerro, Jonathan Michael.
How Malleable Are Beliefs about Traits? Self-Theories About Traits as Motivated Reasoning After Reliving a Negative Self-Conscious Emotion.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.