Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Lindsey Root Luna, Psychology

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An important element of human cognition is the ability to imagine and hope for future outcomes. Imagining the future may result in states of hope or hopelessness. Hypertension, respiratory tract infections (Richman et al., 2005), and depression in adolescents (Waszczuk, Coulson, Gregory, & Eley, 2016) have been correlated with hopelessness, whereas positive emotions (Snyder et al., 1991) and lower levels of anxiety and depression (Feldman & Snyder, 2005) have been associated with states of hope. Using an experimental approach, hope evocation decreased anger and anxiety, along with heart rate, compared to rumination following a stressful event (Chadwick et al., 2016). In the current study, we attempt to evaluate the impact of forecasting the future regarding a hoped-for outcome. This between-subjects experiment tested the impact of hopeful and hopeless thinking on self-regulatory resources, depression and anxiety symptoms, rumination, and flourishing. Participants (undergraduate psychology students, anticipated N=105) complete individual difference measures, and self-reported, hope, hopelessness, optimism, satisfaction with life, and flourishing. Additionally, the participants’ depressive and anxiety symptoms, along with emotion regulation tendencies and trait self-regulation are measured. Participants then identify a meaningful hoped-for outcome for the next month and are randomly assigned to a control, hope-fulfilled, or hope-unfulfilled condition using Qualtrics. Next, researchers assess the hope, flourishing, and self-regulatory resources of participants. Researchers expect that imagining a hoped-for outcome unfulfilled will result in decreased positive emotion and flourishing and increased negative emotion compared to imagining the hoped-for outcome unfulfilled. This study builds on previous research regarding the value of hope and explores the impact of hope fulfilled and unfulfilled imagery on self-regulatory resources and emotional processes.

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