Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type

Open Access Thesis



First Advisor

Matthew E. Brashears

Second Advisor

Laura Brashears


As people visualize ongoing or future interactions, do they lie to maintain situational congruency? While visualizing various behavioral options, or the outcomes of such behaviors, people have a unique opportunity to preemptively alter the definition of the situation based on anticipated sentiments. Affect Control Theory emphasizes the salience of deflection management in everyday life. This is otherwise known as an attempted realignment of experiences and expectations in the face of situational incongruency such as the bizarre. Using a vignette experiment, I extend Affect Control Theory by illuminating deflection not yet experienced but instead anticipated. I do so by estimating the odds of lying in an ongoing interaction where an honest retelling would incur high deflection. To further inform this cognitive process, I provide qualitative explanations from participants on why they chose their responses and how the dynamics of their relationship mattered, highlighting the underlying social and cognitive processes behind active decision making in ongoing interactions.

Included in

Sociology Commons