Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Daniel Simonet

Committee Member

Kenneth Sumner

Committee Member

Valerie Sessa


Building upon the literature regarding the unique effects of distinct negative emotions on decision making, the current thesis investigates the differential effects of distinct positive emotions (i.e., pride, elevation, and amusement) on giving and taking behaviors in social dilemmas. Results of a pilot and experimental studies reveal autobiographical recalls successfully elicited distinct positive emotions, but the effects were generally inconsistent or null in predicting prosocial acts. Supplementary analyses reveal a potential methodological confound, with significant findings more likely to emerge when emotions were measured after as opposed to before the targeted dilemmas. Specifically, elevation led to significantly higher levels of cooperation whereas amusement approached opposing effects in public versus resource dilemmas. Given smaller sample sizes in certain cells, we offer a cautious conclusion that positive emotions may have different effects on decision-making. Implications for future research are discussed.

File Format


Included in

Psychology Commons