Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychological Sciences

First Advisor

William G. Graziano

Committee Chair

William G. Graziano

Committee Member 1

Kipling D. Williams

Committee Member 2

James Tyler


Individuals differ in the extent to which they attend to their physical and social environments, but little empirical work has measured these differences at a cognitive level. To address this gap, two studies explored the association between attentional processes and Person and Thing Orientations. The first study measured visual selective attention toward person- and thing-related image components. In the second study, participants provided written responses about a set of images; linguistic analyses were conducted to assess attentional bias toward interest-congruent content. The results from both studies support motivated attention as a process through which interests in physical and social environments operate. Implications for both the theory and applications of Person and Thing Orientations are discussed.