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Catawba College Psychology Professor and Students Publish Paper

July 6, 2020

Category: Academics, Psychology, Students

Professor of Psychology Dr. Sheila Brownlow and recent graduates Emily Fogleman ’20 and Sophie Hirsch ’20 have published their paper “How Self-Reflection Influences Use of Cognitive and Analytical Language” in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences.

In the published paper, the group examined cognitive processes and analytic expression according to affective prime, hypothesizing that negative emotion would increase rumination, insight, and causality in language.  Participants wrote about either “positive aspects of myself ” or “aspects of myself that I would like to change.”  Analysis of the narratives showed that insight and causation in language was seen when people focused positive (rather than negative) aspects of themselves, but more discrepancy was seen when writing about negative qualities. These findings were not a function of wordiness. Causality and insight were prevalent in language after positive prompting, perhaps because people were providing rationale and support for positive self-talk. Discrepancy suggests counterfactual thought and was common in writing from a negative prompt.

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