Filling in the Blanks: Subtle Cues of Coherence, Belongingness and Meaning in Life

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Porter, Janessa Erin




Heintzelman, Trent and King (2013) suggested that feelings of meaning in life (MiL) emerge when individuals perceive subtle cues of coherence. Study 1 and 2 sought to replicate and extend Heintzelman et al.’s (2013; Study 4) finding of increased self-reported MiL after being presented with coherent, in comparison to incoherent, linguistic triads. Both attempts, however, failed to replicate. Study 3 aimed to assess whether the effect of coherence on MiL is only realized when a threat to a fundamental need (belongingness) is apparent. Using an online ball-tossing game, Cyberball, to create feelings of exclusion, participants were subsequently randomly assigned to view either coherent or incoherent word triads. They then completed measures of MiL and current mood. Coherent triads (vs. incoherent triads) had no significant effect on MiL in either the inclusion or exclusion condition. Possible explanations for these discrepant findings are discussed, and potential future directions are proposed.


Psychology - Social
Psychology - Personality
Psychology - Experimental




Carleton University

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Theses and Dissertations

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