Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Program Name/Specialization

Social Psychology


Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Roger Buehler

Advisor Role


Second Advisor

Anne E. Wilson

Advisor Role



Negative intergroup interactions can be utilized for the collective good if reasoned through wisely. An effective mechanism for facilitating wise reasoning is the empirically well-established self-distancing perspective. First-generation immigrants were recruited because their position in society makes them susceptible to a different set of challenges than second- or third-generation immigrants. Negative intergroup interaction memories were conjured by either the distanced-why or immersed-why perspective. The distanced-why perspective proved ineffective at reducing explicit negative affect but marginally increased wise reasoning (p = .057) when compared to the immersed-why perspective. The effect of condition was significant for the “search for compromise and conflict resolution” theoretically established wise reasoning dimension (p = .008) indicating that distanced-why participants engaged in more conflict resolution reasoning than immersed-why participants. A factor analysis was conducted to investigate empirically driven wise reasoning dimensions. Two dimensions were extracted. The first dimension proved to be relatively more representative of “change–focused” reasoning and the second more representative of “outsider–focused” reasoning. Distanced-why participants engaged in greater outsider-focused reasoning (p = .028) than immersed-why participants. The study was replicated to investigate spontaneous reactions. Spontaneous self-distancing negatively correlated with implicit negative affect (p = .046) and the “Anxiety” LIWC dimension (p = .004) indicating that as spontaneous self-distancing increases, implicit negative affect and anxiety-laden autobiographical writing decreases. Acculturation strategies were examined so that in-group heterogeneity could be captured. Biculturals adopted an observer perspective more so than non-biculturals (p = .001). Theoretical implications and research limitations are described.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season