Date of Submission

Spring 2020

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Kristin Lane

Abstract/Artist's Statement

When faced with an interpersonal conflict, people respond with avoidance or confrontation. Past research demonstrates that avoidance generally does more harm than good. The goal of this proposal is to investigate what causes an individual to be avoidant despite the negative consequences associated with avoidance. Supported by the extant literature, this proposal offers an argument for two specific factors that influence how a person responds to conflict, which are: 1) “need for social connection”, which describes the extent to which someone feels socially included or excluded, and 2) “modeled behavior”, which describes a person replicating a behavior they see someone else express. My hypotheses are: 1) participants with a high need for social connection (i.e. they feel socially excluded) will be more avoidant than individuals with a low need; 2) participants who witness someone model avoidant behavior will be likely to also express avoidant behavior; and 3) there will be an interaction effect between these two factors such that the influence of modeled behavior will depend on whether the participant has a high or low need for social connection, and vice versa. To test these hypotheses, 212 undergraduate students will be assigned to one of four possible conditions in a study that will experimentally induce either a high or low need for social connection, and will model either avoidant or confrontational behavior. At the end of the study, participants will be given $12 instead of the advertised $16 as compensation. This study is interested to see which participants will avoid the conflict by accepting the money, and which participants will confront the conflict by refusing the incorrect payment. Predicted results coincide with predictions stated in the hypotheses. Limitations and future directions are discussed.

Open Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

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