Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Barbara Woike


This study investigated explanatory style and people's perceptions of negative and positive daily events. Explanatory style can be measured by rating causal explanations that people give on three dimensions; internality, stability, and globality. College students wrote stories in response to pictures, using the Thematic Apperceptive Test (TAT), and also completed a 28-day Daily Event Log Questionnaire. It was expected that how people explain good and bad events that happen to them, would be the same whether someone was explaining a personal daily event or explaining a story written in response to a picture. To prove this, it was expected that the two measures would have a high degree of correspondence. To test the hypothesis, the TAT and daily log data were coded for explanatory style using the Content Analysis of Verbatim Explanations (CAVE) technique. Results did not show a high degree of correspondence, suggesting that these two measures might tap different aspects of the explanatory style construct. Interestingly, the range of areas of life that will be affected by the cause (the negative global dimension), was the only discriminator of explanatory style, for both measures. Next, it was explored whether the Daily Event Log Questionnaire could help us understand how people who habitually give certain types of explanations perceive their daily events. Results showed that this new measure had similar results to other explanatory style measures. Also, a significant 3-way interaction between valence of event being explained, x range of areas in life to be affected, x type of explanations habitually given, was found. Findings suggest that daily events add to the explanatory style research, and that more study needs to be done to fully understand their place in the literature.