This study explored the effect of restricting participants’ agentic choice on their levels of optimism. This study used the pre-test, post-test design to investigate the impact of non-agentic choice in meaningful scenarios on feelings of optimism. 147 participants completed a measure of optimism, were assigned to conditions of simulated choice, and were instructed to freely write about their decisions. The association between personality traits and optimism was also explored. Study findings showed that assigning participants to restrictive and agentic conditions had no effect on optimism. However, a significant negative correlation trait neuroticism and optimism was found. Content analyses run on the responses found that the most common themes, in order, were seeking change in employment, seeking support from family and friends, and public assistance. Additional research, with a larger sample, should be completed to more fully determine the nature of the relationship among these variables.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Tornin, Mel A., "How Free is "Free?": Restrictive Agency and Optimism" (2020). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 767.