Examining the Effects of Emotion on Deviance: An Appraisal Theory Approach
AdvisorEllis, Aleksander P. J.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractUsing the appraisal theory of emotion, I hypothesized a process model that depicts the effects of four negative emotions – boredom, anger, sadness, and anxiety – on two types of deviant behavior, rule-breaking and interpersonal aggression. I predicted that anger and anxiety would increase deviance in comparison to boredom, while sadness would decrease it. In addition, I argued that these effects would be mediated by physiological arousal, sensemaking, and attentional focus. I tested my model across three experiments (total N = 430), each of which used a different emotion induction. Overall, there was general support for the findings that anger and anxiety increase, while sadness decreases, deviant behavior. In addition, I found support for the hypothesized effects of emotion on arousal and sensemaking. However, there was no support for predictions regarding attentional focus or any indirect effects. Thus, the most significant finding was that sadness decreased deviant behavior, which emphasizes the importance of differentiating among different negative emotions when examining deviant behavior. Further implications are discussed.
Degree ProgramGraduate College