Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects



Document Type



Previous studies have shown that children’s goals are influenced by emotion and that emotions can be manipulated using relationships. The present study combines these previous findings by examining the effect of children’s relationships on social goals. Social goals were examined in second and fifth grade children using hypothetical ambiguous provocation situations in which the relationship between the participant and the provocateur was manipulated by inserting the name of a friend, enemy, or a neutral peer into the story. After each situation, children rated the importance of four different social goals, indicating which of the four would be the most important to accomplish. Results indicated that within each goal type, importance ratings varied depending on the nature of the relationship. Social relational goals were rated as much more important when the provocateur was a friend versus an enemy or neutral peer. Instrumental, avoidant, and revenge goals, however, were rated as more important when the provocateur was an enemy or a neutral peer. Goal hierarchy was also found to vary across relationships; social relational goals were the most important when the provocateur was a friend, yet instrumental goals were rated as most important when the provocateur was an enemy or a neutral peer.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Elizabeth Lemerise, PhD


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Included in

Psychology Commons