Priming Emotion-Eliciting Appraisals through Music
Stahl, Courtney L.
Appraisal theory claims that emotions are elicited as a result of a meaning analysis in which a person evaluates the implications of his or her circumstances for his or her personal well-being. This study tests the process model of appraisal proposed by Smith and Kirby by examining if music can be used to incidentally prime appraisals of self and other accountability. Forty-five participants were randomly assigned to one of two negative conditions, self accountability (guilt/shame) or other accountability (anger), or a neutral condition with no music. Participants were partnered with a confederate and engaged in a difficult tinker toy building task in which they were expected to fail. The participants then completed appraisal ratings and other questionnaires to assess their appraisals of accountability and resulting emotional state, with the expectation that participants in the guilt/shame condition would blame themselves for the failure and those in the anger condition would blame their partner. The results were not significant, but some trends suggest that with adjustments, future studies might succeed in priming appraisals of self and other accountability in order to influence emotion and emotion-related behavior, providing support for the process model of appraisal.