College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Summer 8-17-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Christine Reyna, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Ralph Erber, Ph.D.


Research demonstrates that people desire a sense of existential meaning in life, and imbue attitudes with a sense of moral conviction. People want to protect their beliefs, because they help them to create a sense of meaning in life. No research however, has examined whether or not moral conviction, a facet of attitude strength associated with a sense of ultimate right or wrong, contributes to one's sense of meaning in life. Furthermore, no research has tested whether or not threatening attitudes leads people to imbue them with increased moral conviction, possible as a means of protecting attitudes, and the sense of meaning they create. Two experiments were conducted to test whether or not threatening attitudes with information contradicting them increased participants' sense of moral conviction, and meaning in life. Overall, attitude threat failed to increase moral conviction and meaning in life. Implications are discussed.

Included in

Psychology Commons