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  • Writer's pictureThuy-vy Nguyen

2017 - 2018 funding activities

Updated: Jun 8, 2018

Total Expenditure

  • $200 was donated to the Center for Self-Determination Theory to support their efforts in advancing research on human motivation and applying their findings to practices across domains (for examples, sports, education, work, etc.) to promote psychological well-being.

  • A total of $1,367.94 was distributed to the University of Rochester to support studies that focus on 1) the effects of emotional experiences leading to science curiosity and 2) personality and cognitive factors predicting science rejection. Three series of studies were conducted using these funds, described below. PI: Jonathon McPhetres (




Project Title: Awe and Science curiosity

$517.94 was used to purchase virtual reality equipment for the following study

  • Submitted for publication at Cognition &Emotion.

Abstract. Awe is seen as an important emotional experience related to knowledge, interest, and curiosity, particularly around science topics. The reason awe is described as a “epistemic emotion” is that it may make gaps in one’s knowledge salient, which may lead to interest in science because science is one way to fill those gaps. However, these claims have not been investigated empirically. Results from three pre-registered studies indicate that manipulating awe through online (Studies 1a and 1b) and virtual reality (Study 2) videos, led to greater awareness of knowledge gaps and science curiosity, and to choosing tickets to a science museum over tickets to an art museum (Study 1b). These effects were not observed on, nor moderated by, other measures related to cognition, religion, and spirituality. These results provide the first empirical evidence of awe as a “epistemic emotion” by demonstrating its effects on metacognitive awareness and science curiosity.


Project Title: Awe and awareness of knowledge gaps.

$500.00 was used to pay online participants across two studies.

  • Study in progress.

Abstract. These studies were conducted as expansion of the previous study where it was found that awe promotes awareness of gaps in one’s knowledge. In these studies, the researcher examined whether the effects of awe would generalize to some other psychological tasks related to metacognition. The Dunning-Kruger effect suggests that people don’t know how much they don’t know. Thus, the study implemented the same tasks used by Dunning & Kruger (2003) to measure the effects of awe on subjective perceptions of performance on a work search task, and on the overclaiming questionnaire. Results did not support the hypotheses, suggesting that the knowledge gap measure is either specific to knowledge about the natural world, or that the tasks used by Dunning and Kruger measure some other aspect of metacognition.


Project Title: Predictors of Science Rejection

$250.00 was used to pay online participants for their participation.

  • Manuscript in preparation. Results have been presented at the Social Psychologists Around Western New York (SPAWN) 5th Annual Meeting at the University of Buffalo, Buffalo, New York.

Abstract. This series of studies was conducted to examine several specific predictors of science rejection. While previous research has identified some personality-level predictors of science rejection, such as political and moral beliefs, these are relatively immutable and difficult to change. This series of studies had several aims. First, the researcher developed a scale to measure psychological distance—that is, whether one feels that science is relevant, useful, and accessible to themselves and their community. Initial studies using national samples indicates that the psychological distance form science scale is a unique predictor of 12 indices of science rejection (e.g. climate change skepticism, conspiracy theories). Second, the studies examined knowledge about Genetically modified (GM) foods as a predictor of attitudes towards GM foods. Results from three studies indicate that, above relevant personality-level variables, GM food knowledge is a strong predictor of attitudes. A longitudinal intervention study demonstrated that teaching people about the science behind GM foods positively influences their explicit attitudes relative to a control condition.

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