Date of Award

2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Charles Collyer

Abstract

This study aimed to examine the effects different emotions had on perceptions of violent behaviors. Students from an introductory psychology course (n = 517), were randomly assigned to one of five different emotion elicitation conditions (anger, fear, sadness, happiness, and neutral) using one of two methods (automatic story recall and film clip procedure). Perceptions of violence were measured using a modified version of the Violence Sensitivity Magnitude Estimation Scale (VSMES) which asks participants to rate a series of behaviors as to the severity of violence. Trait aggression was found to mediate the relationship between emotion and perceptions of violence. No significant differences were found between the two methods or the five emotion groups. However, significant differences between violence-sensitive and violence-tolerant groups were found, confirming findings from the previous literature. Future research and implications using the VSMES are discussed.

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