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Title page for ETD etd-03262013-183740

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Yih, Jennifer
Author's Email Address jennifer.yih@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-03262013-183740
Title When the going gets tough, the tough get going: The effects of determination and pride on task engagement
Degree Master of Science
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Craig A. Smith Committee Chair
Adriane Seiffert Committee Member
Leslie D. Kirby Committee Member
  • engagement
  • determination
  • pride
  • positive emotions
  • appraisal theory
  • math
Date of Defense 2013-04-24
Availability unrestricted
Most theories of emotion distinguish negative emotions and generalize positive emotions. However, appraisal theory differentiates among emotions by describing the distinctive feelings, goals, thoughts, and action tendencies associated with each unique emotion. To determine whether discrete positive emotions are distinguishable, we observed how determination and pride differentially impact perseverance and task engagement. We hypothesized that the experience of determination would enhance engagement, whereas pride would decrease engagement. Using a directed imagery task followed by a mathematical problem-solving task, our results supported this hypothesis. The Determination group spent more time on one of the most difficult problems in the task. In contrast, the Pride group spent less time on the same problem. Although we found overlap in the ways determination and pride impact appraisals related to engagement, the present study rejects the notion that all positive emotions are generally the same.
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