Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Psychology


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Supervisor

Dr Paul Chang


Previous studies have suggested that participating in psychological research may temporarily amplify participants’ experience of positive or negative emotions (Daugherty & Lawrence. 1996). In the present research, 114 male and female university students completed either self-focused or non-self-focused questionnaires to investigate characteristics that may predispose some participants to positive or negative reactions following participation in research. Four hypotheses were examined: (a) A self-focused task compared to a non-self-focused task would significantly increase average levels of emotional arousal; (b) the amplification of emotional reactions would be greater in females than males (c) participants experiencing negative life events and who are less well adjusted would experience a negative emotional reaction to participation; and (d) participants experiencing positive life events and who are well adjusted would experience a positive emotional reaction to participation. Results suggest no difference between self-focused and non-self-focused tasks in their ability to effect emotions during research participation. Findings also indicate that males' emotional reaction was significantly more elevated than females after participation. Personality traits rather than life experiences were also identified as better predictors of emotional reactions to participation. These results bring into question conclusions drawn by previous research about sex-differences and self-focused attention and suggest that completion of self-report questionnaires have few aversive affects.

Included in

Psychology Commons