Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Piercarlo Valdesolo

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2020 Lindsey M Seidner


Initiatives intended to “level the playing field” often seek to help low performers without harming high performers. The current 2x2 design tested whether intuitions about the fairness of such initiatives are rooted in beliefs about the true self. Specifically, perceived legitimacy of these initiatives could be driven by the cause of one’s capacities (i.e., innate or developed), and the degree to which these initiatives are thought to reveal the “true selves” of low performers. On Amazon mTurk, participants (n = 98) considered a drug-administration initiative which would level the intellectual capacities of either lower or higher performers, whose capacities were either innate or developed over time. Participants completed identity-change, fairness, and morality measures. Results suggested greater perceived fairness and morality of the initiative when it increased intellectual capacity of lower performers, especially when their capacity developed over time (i.e., caused by brain tumor), because doing so revealed the true self.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.