Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Lafreniere, K.,


Psychology, Personality.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Reversal theory describes people as having bistable cognitive systems that enables switches between either a telic or a paratelic state of mind. A telic state of mind is characterized as being goal-oriented and serious-minded, and a paratelic state of mind is characterized as being activity-oriented and playful. The moderating effects of telic and paratelic states on the level of arousal and on the presence of ambiguity were investigated in the present study. Eighty-four female and 29 male undergraduate students volunteered to participate in a mock diagnosis task which was designed to expose participants to different types of ambiguity. State of mind was expected to interact with both arousal and ambiguity on enjoyment of a task (hedonic tone). Individuals in a telic state were expected to enjoy low arousal and no ambiguity, and individuals in a paratelic state were expected to prefer high arousal and the presence of ambiguity. Also investigated were the relationships between arousal and ambiguity, between lability and paratelic dominance, and between persistence and metamotivational state. The hypothesized interaction effect of metamotivational state and arousal on enjoyment of a task was supported. The implications of this finding concerning homeostatic theories of arousal are discussed. The other hypotheses of this study were not supported. One serendipitous finding, a negative relation between paratelic dominance and performance, was discovered. A post hoc interpretation of this finding is provided. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 61-09, Section: B, page: 5042. Adviser: K. Lafreniere. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1998.