Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program



English (en)

Date of Award

January 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Randy Larsen


A growing body of research examines relationships between cognitive tendencies and a number of personality and affective: i.e. emotional) traits. While several mechanisms have been suggested to explain these links, the exact reasons for the observed effects remain unclear in a number of circumstances. The current research examines the potential underlying mechanisms of observed links between cognitive error reactivity and various components of the affect regulation process; those individuals who make errors in strings on standard cognitive tasks are higher in trait negative affect, react more strongly to negative daily events, and may show deficits in self-regulation ability: Compton, Robinson, Ode, Quandt, Fineman, & Carp, 2008). The current study tests whether observed links between cognitive error reactivity and affective traits/processes are due to affect reactivity: Larsen, & Ketelaar, 1989) or affect regulation ability: Hemenover, Augustine, Shulman, Tran, & Barlett, 2008). Participants completed measures of both personality and error reactivity and then underwent an anxiety induction followed by one of three affect regulation tasks. Results reveal that neither affect reactivity: i.e., reaction to the anxiety induction) nor affect regulation ability: i.e., affective change due to the regulation task) adequately explain links between error reactivity and personality. The implications of these findings for both personality and cognitive psychology are discussed.


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