Term of Award

Summer 2019

Degree Name

Master of Science in Experimental Psychology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Nick Holtzman

Committee Member 1

Jeff Klibert

Committee Member 2

Daniel Webster


This study was conducted to determine the effectiveness of a novel mind perception manipulation. Mind perception is currently theorized to be an essential aspect of a number of human social psychological processes. Thus, a successful manipulation would allow for the causal study of those processes. This manipulation was created in an attempt to explore the downstream impact of mind perception on the endorsement of conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories are steadily becoming more and more prominent in social discourse. Endorsement of conspiracy theories are beginning to show real world ramifications such as a danger to human health (e.g., in the anti-vaccination movement). A sample of college students (valid N = 53) from a large rural institution in the southeastern United States participated for course credit. These participants completed a mind perception pretest, were randomly assigned to either the manipulation in question (in which participants are asked to consider the ‘mind’ of several targets and write their thoughts about them) or the control condition, and then they completed a posttest. The mixed ANOVA revealed that the interaction term between Time and Condition was not significant. Because the manipulation did not work, other analyses were aborted, in accord with the pre-registration. My Discussion focuses on the procedures and potential shortcomings of this manipulation, in an effort to lay the groundwork for a successful one.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material