Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Kenneth DeBono




trait anxiety, fundamental attribution error, policy, essay


Previous research has been conducted that suggests that those who have trait anxiety have lower working memory capacity. Lower working memory capacity has also been shown to increase the likelihood that one commits cognitive heuristics. In the current research, we examined the relationship between one’s level of trait anxiety and their chances of committing the fundamental attribution error (FAE). In the experiment participants were randomly selected into one of four different conditions. Then participants completed the Spielberger trait anxiety scale which was used to separate participants into low and high trait anxiety groups. In each condition participants read an essay about a course policy change and answered questions about the essay and the author to test whether or not they committed the FAE. The essay was either pro- or anti-policy change and was either written under a choice condition or an assigned condition. Results showed that trait anxiety had no effect on one’s likelihood of committing the FAE. The only significant main effect was that of essay position which is consistent with previous research. Future directions for research are discussed to explore this concept further.