Date of Award

2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Lafreniere, Kathryn

Keywords

cognitive bias, positive thought-action fusion, P-TAF Scale

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

This project identifies a cognitive bias that has not been studied as an independent construct in previous research. This bias is related to the thought-action fusion bias that has been examined in work on obsessive-compulsive disorder and various mood disorders. The newly identified bias, labeled positive thought-action fusion, focuses on a belief that one's personal thoughts regarding positive outcomes can have an influence on real-life events. For example, a person may think that he will win the lottery, and he believes that this thought has actually improved his chance of winning. This project involves two studies, which together show that (1) the positive thought-action fusion bias does exist as an independent construct, (2) we now have a valid measure with which to measure it, and (3) that this bias is related to some forms of risk-taking behaviour and impaired mental control. Implications and future directions for research are discussed.

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