Honors Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



Jockers, M. (2023). How We Answer Questions: A Measurement of Mental States After Answering Political or General Knowledge Questions. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Copyright Matthew Jockers 2023.


Contemporary research has shown that emotions play an essential role in judgement and belief formation, as well as showing that biological differences help explain individual differences in emotional response to stimuli. In this paper I investigate how subject matter priming affects emotional response. Specifically, I design a survey that measures the effects of objective/factual primes on emotional state. For this experiment, a sample of 131 participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions. The first (control) condition received a general knowledge survey, whereas the second (treatment) condition received a political knowledge survey. Both conditions then completed an emotional state measure. Results show no statistically significant difference between groups, suggesting that political subject matter did not prime a significantly different emotional response than was primed in the control condition. While the findings from this experiment were not statistically significant, I conclude by discussing compelling avenues for future research that stem from these results.