College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 6-8-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Verena Graupmann, PhD

Second Advisor

Joseph Mikels, PhD


Incidental emotion can powerfully impact risky decision-making processes, yet the specific mechanisms that drive this relationship require further exploration. The appraisal theory of emotion suggests that emotional valence alone cannot accurately predict an emotion’s effect on risk-taking. Rather, specific appraisal dimensions of an emotional experience—particularly the perception of control—have been found to critically influence risk-taking across settings. Previous literature indicates that guilt, a negative emotion characterized by high personal control, led to higher risk preferences. The current study sought to replicate these findings and test whether a similar relationship would be found for the positive emotion of pride. Data was collected from 152 participants who were randomly assigned to pride induction, guilt induction, sadness induction, or a neutral control condition. Risky decision-making was assessed using a gambling task where participants were asked to choose either between guaranteed or risky financial outcomes. It was hypothesized that both pride and guilt would lead to higher risk-taking and that this relationship would be mediated by higher perceptions of personal control; however, no significant differences in risk-taking based on emotion condition were found. Study results confirmed unique appraisal patterns for pride, guilt, and sadness, however, and suggest that other people may have more agency in experiences of pride than previously assumed. Implications for future research are discussed.

SLP Collection


Included in

Psychology Commons