Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2024

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Experimental Psychology

Committee Chair

Dr. Tonya Buchanan

Second Committee Member

Dr. Joshua Buchanan

Third Committee Member

Dr. Mary Radeke


In order to establish the proper way to address peers and colleagues, an introduction is necessary. In an attempt to support inclusion, it has become standard to ask that people state their associated pronouns. Researchers have shown that the proper use of one’s pronouns can help people feel safe in a new environment (e.g., Kramer et al., 2022; Lauscher et al., 2022; Palanica et al., 2022); however, to my knowledge, very few researchers have explored the potential adverse effects of requiring pronouns in introductions. The practice of stating pronouns during introductions has been established relatively recently (MIT, 2020), limiting research studies that have explored the possible exclusion experienced by those who feel unsure, unsafe, and/or conflicted about their pronouns or how they choose to communicate them. The purpose of this experimental study was to examine how participants responded to a randomly assigned hypothetical introduction scenario in which introductions – 1) require pronouns, 2) give the option for pronouns, or 3) ask for any personal choice identifiers. Afterward, participants introduced themselves (open-ended) and completed an anxiety scale that measured their affective response to the introduction scenario. Contrary to my first hypothesis, participants assigned to the required pronouns condition did not report higher levels of anxiety in comparison to those in the optional pronouns condition. In addition, my exploratory hypothesis that encouraged additional choice identifiers would lead to lower levels of anxiety than the requiring pronouns was also not supported by the data, as no differences in anxiety were found between these groups.