Project Title

Priming and Its Effect on Mortality-Related Anxiety Buffers

Academic department under which the project should be listed

RCHSS - Psychological Science

Faculty Sponsor Name

Tyler Collette

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Anxiety buffer disruption theory (ABDT) operates from terror management theory to explain post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Particularly, ABDT explains the relationship between PTSD and failures within the human anxiety buffer system. Post-traumatic growth, experiencing greater resilience after traumatic experiences, has been associated with certain anxiety buffers, such as close relationships, self-esteem, spiritual discovery, and appreciation for life. Additionally, research suggests that the benefits of anxiety buffers can be moderated by mood priming: the phenomenon that exposure to a stimulus impacts future responses. This study’s objective is to evaluate the relationship between PTSD and ABDT, as well as the relationship between priming and mortality-related anxiety. We will conduct a SONA survey analyzing how individuals react to stimuli after either being primed by mortality-related thoughts or non-existential anxiety-producing thoughts. The subject will be randomly placed into one of two groups: positive-emotion and negative-emotion priming groups. Both experimental groups will be asked to read an article that invokes either positive or negative emotions. Each group will be asked a series of questions related to anxiety buffers, and the data will be cleaned and analyzed with SPSS v.28. Two-way Analysis of Variance will be conducted to determine omnibus differences between groups, and appropriate post-hoc breakdowns will be assessed to identify differences. A positive correlation between priming and activation of anxiety buffers is anticipated. Currently, minimal research relates priming and ABDT, and by pursuing this division of psychology we encourage other researchers to continue this exploration.

Disciplines

Psychology

Project Type

Poster

How will this be presented?

Yes, in person

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Priming and Its Effect on Mortality-Related Anxiety Buffers

Anxiety buffer disruption theory (ABDT) operates from terror management theory to explain post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Particularly, ABDT explains the relationship between PTSD and failures within the human anxiety buffer system. Post-traumatic growth, experiencing greater resilience after traumatic experiences, has been associated with certain anxiety buffers, such as close relationships, self-esteem, spiritual discovery, and appreciation for life. Additionally, research suggests that the benefits of anxiety buffers can be moderated by mood priming: the phenomenon that exposure to a stimulus impacts future responses. This study’s objective is to evaluate the relationship between PTSD and ABDT, as well as the relationship between priming and mortality-related anxiety. We will conduct a SONA survey analyzing how individuals react to stimuli after either being primed by mortality-related thoughts or non-existential anxiety-producing thoughts. The subject will be randomly placed into one of two groups: positive-emotion and negative-emotion priming groups. Both experimental groups will be asked to read an article that invokes either positive or negative emotions. Each group will be asked a series of questions related to anxiety buffers, and the data will be cleaned and analyzed with SPSS v.28. Two-way Analysis of Variance will be conducted to determine omnibus differences between groups, and appropriate post-hoc breakdowns will be assessed to identify differences. A positive correlation between priming and activation of anxiety buffers is anticipated. Currently, minimal research relates priming and ABDT, and by pursuing this division of psychology we encourage other researchers to continue this exploration.

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