Senior Honors Projects, 2020-current

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation




Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Department of Psychology


Monica J. Reis-Bergan

Jaime L. Kurtz

Daniel D. Holt


Prospect theory highlighted that individuals are more sensitive to loss frames than gain frames. However, previous literature involving message framing, emotion, and behaviors found that gain frames have more of an impact on whether an individual will engage in desired behaviors. The purpose of this experiment was to analyze the relationships between message framing, death anxiety, conspiracy beliefs, and future behavioral intentions. Participants were randomly assigned to the framing condition: either in the loss frame group or in the gain frame group. There were three hypotheses tested in this study. The first predicted that individuals receiving the loss frame would report higher death anxiety than individuals receiving the gain frame. This hypothesis was not supported. The second hypothesis predicted that individuals who received the loss frame would engage more in conspiracy beliefs than those who received the gain frame. This hypothesis was also not supported. The third hypothesis predicted that individuals who received the gain frame would report more future behavioral intentions aimed at protecting the environment than individuals receiving the loss frame, and this hypothesis was supported. This experiment supported previous literature, displaying that gain frames are more impactful than loss frames on behaviors. Future research building on this experiment would benefit from having a control group involving a topic other than climate change.



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