Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

School

Psychology

Committee Chair

Lucas A. Keefer

Committee Chair School

Psychology

Committee Member 2

Elena V. Stepanova

Committee Member 2 School

Psychology

Committee Member 3

Donald F. Sacco

Committee Member 3 School

Psychology

Abstract

People sometimes hold opinions on others’ choices, particularly their reproductive decisions, as these choices are important decisions that impact the lives of multiple people. People can believe that everyone should have children (pro-natalism) or that everyone should refrain from having children (anti-natalism) or they can hold no position on the reproduction of others. The main justification for anti-natalism is that life contains more suffering than pleasure and that it would be better if new people were not born to experience this suffering. This is why some theorists argue that people reject anti-natalism irrespective of how bad life is because of an optimism bias (Benatar, 2006). I tested this theory by assessing the effects of optimism on people’s opinions of and support for anti-natalism. Overall, optimism did not significantly reduce anti-natalism, though optimism specifically about future children did reduce support for anti-natalism. Additionally, nostalgia significantly reduced support for anti-natalism.

ORCID ID

0000-0002-3090-4372

Available for download on Thursday, May 14, 2020

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