Date of Award

2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

School of Education

Abstract

The present study demonstrates that implicit egotism is relevant to not only letter attractiveness ratings on the Name Letter Test (NLT), but also to judgments of humor--albeit to a lesser degree. Respondents participated as "mock" judges in a simulated cartoon caption contest and evaluated writers' caption submissions for two cartoons. It was hypothesized that participants would exhibit biases toward captions submitted by writers with whom they shared a first initial letter, and additionally, their gender. A name letter effect was found in participants' judgments of humor and on the NLT. Shared gender with a caption writer--when coupled with a shared initial--increased biases toward these writers' captions, but not significantly so. The impact of implicit self-esteem on initial-letter biases was examined, with level of implicit self-esteem weakly predicting NLT biases, but not biases demonstrated toward captions submitted by same-initial writers. While name-letter preferences are believed to tap implicit self-esteem, less than one-third of participants demonstrated high implicit self-esteem, despite the very large name letter effect observed on the NLT. This challenges the notion that people overwhelmingly possess the positive self-attitudes thought to ignite implicit egotism. Recent researchers have suggested that the NLT is best understood as a measure for which it was first designed--implicit egotism, the tendency to display automatic self-positivity biases toward targets that share our self-attributes--instead of a measure of implicit self-esteem. This possibility is discussed and explored with analyses of the relationships between the NLT, explicit self-esteem, and implicit self-esteem.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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