Date of Award

Fall 9-25-2019

Degree Type

Capstone - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Dr. Nicole Frisch-Scott


The purpose of this experiment is to understand if decision making is affected when under the influence of stress. Courtroom actors such as judges, and prosecutors, make decisions everyday that can change an individual's life and they are under a great amount of stress. Theories such as bounded rationality theory, focal concern theory, and Albonetti’s (1986, 1987, 1991) theory integration hypothesize that stress does affect decision making when there is a lack of information and/or constraints on a decision maker’s time, situations that courtroom actors regularly face. In this research, 131 students completed a series of Stroop tasks (decision making tasks) and when under stress and no stress. The results showed that there were more errors in decision-making when participants were under stress, however, this difference is only marginally significant at conventional levels (p<0.05). This research provides some evidence that decision making is affected when an individual is under stress. Future research directions and study limitations are discussed.