Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of Psychology


Psychology (Masters)

Content Description

1 online resource (iii, 29 pages) : illustrations

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Jason G Randall

Committee Members

Heather Sheridan


Emotional stability, Mind wandering, Neuroticism, Self-efficacy, Self-regulation, Training sequence, Attention, Learning, Psychology of

Subject Categories

Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Personality and Social Contexts | Psychology


AbstractPersonality is complex and dynamic, and because this attribute consists of a cluster of different distinctive traits, successfully predicting how personality predisposes individuals to different reactions and feelings during a learning activity is an equally complex and challenging task. For this thesis I will focus on the personality trait of low emotional stability, or neuroticism. Previous research has shown that people with lower emotional stability have a predisposition to be more stringent with self-perceptions across different domains of behaviors and feelings. Self-efficacy influences people’s confidence in their ability to exert control over their own behavior and impact their environment, all with the ultimate goal of specific performance attainments. Therefore, in this thesis we test the idea that people with lower emotional stability will also have lower self-efficacy. I am also interested in learning more about antecedents to self-efficacy and will explore the possibility that individuals may resort to mind wandering to avoid dealing with the negative feelings that arise during learning—a potentially stressful and challenging environment. We propose a mind wandering mediation between low emotional stability and self-efficacy, and a possible moderating effect from the particular sequence of the ATC trial (i.e., Low-High; High-Low). Participants (N = 137) completing Air Traffic Control simulator training were randomly assigned to one of two conditions counterbalancing training trial difficulty sequencing: Low-High or High-Low. The results demonstrated a negative relationship between mind wandering and self-efficacy on both trials. Training design sequencing did not moderate these relationships. Keywords: emotional stability; self-efficacy; mind wandering; predisposition.