Mastering the chaos by asserting agency: randomness salience and its effects for different models of agency

Alper, Sinan
In the current research, it was hypothesized that (1) the sense randomness would make people feel insignificant objects rather than active agents; and (2) independent agents would assert their independence and interdependent agents assert their interdependence after randomness salience in order to reestablish their sense of agency. In Chapter 1, after illustrating that people are evolved as pattern detectors and they also need nonrandomness in order to mitigate existential anxiety, I demonstrated some of the negative effects aroused by randomness salience. I argued that these negative effects were caused by the randomness’ effect of undermining sense of agency. In Chapter 2, I hypothesized that independent and interdependent agents would reestablish their agency in different ways after randomness salience. In Chapter 3, the correlational analyses showed that independent agency was related to seeking personal control and socially disengaging emotions whereas interdependent agency was related seeking harmony and socially engaging emotions. In Chapter 4, the findings in Study 2 and 3 were not conclusive, but the findings in Study 4 and 5 supported the feeling of insignificance hypothesis. In Chapter 5, trait self-construals were measured and only randomness was manipulated. Study 7 and 8, but not 6, provided some evidence that randomness interacted with self-construal in predicting control orientations. In Study 9, control deprivation was manipulated and the results showed that, after randomness salience, independent agents enhanced their independence by distancing themselves from external sources of control. Overview of the findings and the potential limitations were discussed in Chapter 6.