Graduation Year

Spring 2012

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Linguistics and Cognitive Science

Reader 1

Elizabeth Graham

Reader 2

Stacey Wood

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2012 Emery K. Hilles


The central question of my thesis is how different positive emotions affect inhibition. Katzir, Eyal, Meiran, and Kessler (2010) addressed this question using an antisaccade task and found that happiness decreased inhibition compared to pride, which they attribute to the links between pride and long-term goals and happiness and short-term goals. I attempted to generalize their results to a color-naming Stroop task and predicted that their results would not generalize because their study had little supporting research and their method had several limitations. I tested 45 students of the Claremont Colleges and found partial support for Katzir et al. Participants in the pride condition showed better inhibitory function than participants in the neutral condition, but I was unable to find differences in inhibitory function between participants in the pride and happiness or happiness and neutral conditions. The results suggest that pride improved inhibitory function compared to neutral emotion, but happiness had no effect. I conclude that further research is needed to confirm the supposed distinction between pride and happiness, the strength of the links between happiness, pride, and different goals, and the motivational role of emotion in inhibition.