Filling in the Blanks: Subtle Cues of Coherence, Belongingness and Meaning in Life

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  • Heintzelman, Trent and King (2013) suggested that feelings of meaning in life (MiL) emerge when individuals perceive subtle cues of coherence. Study 1 and 2 sought to replicate and extend Heintzelman et al.’s (2013; Study 4) finding of increased self-reported MiL after being presented with coherent, in comparison to incoherent, linguistic triads. Both attempts, however, failed to replicate. Study 3 aimed to assess whether the effect of coherence on MiL is only realized when a threat to a fundamental need (belongingness) is apparent. Using an online ball-tossing game, Cyberball, to create feelings of exclusion, participants were subsequently randomly assigned to view either coherent or incoherent word triads. They then completed measures of MiL and current mood. Coherent triads (vs. incoherent triads) had no significant effect on MiL in either the inclusion or exclusion condition. Possible explanations for these discrepant findings are discussed, and potential future directions are proposed.

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  • Copyright © 2017 the author(s). Theses may be used for non-commercial research, educational, or related academic purposes only. Such uses include personal study, research, scholarship, and teaching. Theses may only be shared by linking to Carleton University Institutional Repository and no part may be used without proper attribution to the author. No part may be used for commercial purposes directly or indirectly via a for-profit platform; no adaptation or derivative works are permitted without consent from the copyright owner.
Date Created
  • 2017


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