Senior Honors Projects, 2020-current

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation



Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Department of Psychology


Lindsey A. Harvell-Bowman

Kevin J. Apple

Claire Lyons


As the world’s population of elderly persons rises (He, Goodkind, & Kowal, 2016), there is an increasing demand for people to care for the elderly. Caregiving robots are a potential solution to this problem. Research (i.e. MacDorman, 2005) suggests that uncanny, humanlike robots may elicit death anxiety, but it remains unclear whether non-humanlike caregiving robots also elicit death anxiety. This study expands on MacDorman’s study and investigates the effects of caregiving robots on death thought accessibility (DTA) and death anxiety in the institutionalized elderly. This research focuses on how caregiving robots affect the close relationship buffer against death anxiety, as well as looking at self-esteem and locus of control as potential covariates of DTA and death anxiety. A video of a non-humanlike caregiving robot as a mortality salience induction and a video of a human caregiver as a control video are used as stimuli. The results showed no significant differences in death anxiety and DTA between the human and robot caregivers. There were no interactions involving self-esteem and locus of control. Implications are discussed.



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