Date of Graduation

5-2017

Level of Access

Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department or Program

Psychology

Number of Pages

73

First Advisor

Boucher, Helen

Abstract

Previous research suggests that in response to negative events, people fail to recognize that their psychological immune system will lessen the impact of this event on their emotional experience. As a result, people inaccurately forecast more intense and longer lasting negative emotions than they actually experience (i.e., impact bias). Since dysphoric individuals may be especially impaired in affective forecasting ability, the current study explores whether higher dysphorics are less accurate than lower dysphorics in their predictions of future affect and emotion regulation strategies used (i.e., cognitive reappraisal, expressive suppression, and the reflection and brooding subtypes of rumination) in response to a social exclusion event. 152 undergraduate students completed a measure of dysphoria, played the computer game, Cyberball, and were randomly assigned into either the forecaster condition (made predictions about anger and sadness levels and emotion regulation strategies used following exclusion) or the experiencer condition (reported actual anger and sadness levels and emotion regulation strategies used following exclusion). Our results strongly replicated the impact bias, despite dysphoria level. However, higher dysphorics were more accurate than lower dsyphorics about their level of brooding. Higher dysphorics were more aware of the effect that brooding would have on their sadness levels following exclusion, but only if they scored low on brooding. Higher dysphorics who scored high on brooding showed the impact bias. To the extent that inaccurate affective predictions guide decisional choices, these findings suggest that the combination of higher dysphoria and higher brooding may lead to maladaptive avoidance or social withdrawal behaviors.

Components of Thesis

1 pdf file

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