Making a clean break with past : investigating the effects of haircut on embodiment of emotions
Chng, Jia Yun
Date of Issue2017-05-05
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Embodiment is the concept that relates the body to internal mental processes. Metaphors are often used to explain the underlying mechanisms of embodiment because they help us comprehend abstract ideas by associating them with commonly understood concepts. Past research have explored the effects of physical cleansing, physical contact and physically enclosing objects on emotions experienced. These studies found out that changes in physical body states influenced emotions experienced by a person. Combining with the temporal self appraisal theory, the present study extends this area of research by looking at the impact of cutting hair on negative emotions experienced after recalling a regretful event. It was hypothesised participants who cut their hair after recalling a regretful event would feel less negative emotions as compared to participants who did not cut their hair. It was postulated that the act of cutting hair increased the subjective temporal distance between the past and current self, resulting in less negative emotions currently experienced. Sixty-five participants were undergraduates recruited from Nanyang Technological University. They recalled a regretful event through a written account, followed by a dexterity test with one of the task as cutting hair or a bundle of black thread and self-reported their current negative emotions towards the regretful event. Results of the study did not support the hypothesis. Suppressed magical thinking has been proposed to account for the results. Future studies could explore if the activation of magical thinking is essential for a haircut to result in reduction of negative emotions experienced.
DRNTU::Social sciences::Sociology::Social psychology
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University