Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2019

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Experimental Psychology

Committee Chair

Mary Radeke

Second Committee Member

Tonya Buchanan

Third Committee Member

Anthony Stahelski


The purpose of the current experiment was to examine the role that self-esteem and mood have on judgment formation regarding strangers. Mood has been shown to play an important role in judgments such that being in a positive mood has been shown to result in more positive judgments (Forgas & Bower, 1987; Forgas, Bower, & Krantz, 1983). It has also been shown that having a higher self-esteem can lead to more positive judgments about the self as well as others (Brown & Mankowski, 1993; Sanna, Turley-Ames, & Meier, 1999). Few studies have examined the interaction of self-esteem and mood on judgment formation regarding strangers. In this experiment, participants had their self-esteem assessed through the Rosenberg Self-Esteem scale, and then had their mood manipulated by watching a video clip that pertained to either a positive, neutral, or negative mood. Participants then rated unknown individuals in two text-based scenarios and a trait scenario in terms of likability, competence, trustworthiness, ambitiousness, and enthusiasm as well as rated themselves on the same traits. While no significant main effect of mood was found, there was a significant main effect of self-esteem for the trait scenario, such that participants with high self-esteem made more positive judgments than individuals with low self-esteem. This finding supports previous research on self-esteem and judgments. No significant interaction was found between self-esteem and mood. These results support the idea that how one feels about the self may influence the interpretation of events involving strangers.