Bound Volume Number


Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-4-2015

Capstone Advisor

Dr. Laura VanderDrift

Honors Reader

Dr, Lawrence Lewandowski

Capstone Major


Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component



Openness to Experience, Emotional Expression

Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

Experimental Analysis of Behavior


Commonly regarded as one of the Big Five domains of personality, openness to experience has the social potential to deepen group connection, increase team growth and performance, and strengthen diverse relationships. In the current study I hypothesize that emotional expression on the part of an actor has the potential to increase the levels of openness to experience of the audience. To test this hypothesis, I administered the Big Five Inventory (BFI-44) to assess baseline levels of openness to experience, randomly assigned participants to view either three videos high in levels of emotional expressivity or three videos low in emotional expressivity, and administered the same self-report measures of openness after these experiences. I then compared the levels of openness to experience endorsed by participants after experiencing the videos. My results support my hypothesis: participants who watched videos exhibiting high emotional expression showed significantly higher levels of openness than did participants who watched videos exhibiting low emotional expression. Ancillary analyses revealed that the impact of the videos on openness was significantly mediated by how much emotional expression the participant perceived the speaker to be displaying, rather than any other element of the videos (e.g., emotionality of the topic, warmth of the speaker). These findings have many practical implications for social and group situations, given the range of potential benefits that the literature suggests openness to experience has for individuals.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.



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