Graduation Date

Spring 2019

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Psychology, option Academic Research

Committee Chair Name

Christopher Aberson

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Amber Gaffney

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Kauyumari Sanchez

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



Biologically framing mental illness has certain influences on social-psychological processes related to morality and retribution. The attribution of moral responsibility is thwarted when others believe a transgressor has biologically caused mental illness. Belief in free will works as a function for attributing moral responsibility, which represents an intimate, interdependent connection between both concepts. The current study tested whether or not telling participants a transgressor has biologically caused schizophrenia reduces the belief she is morally responsible, has free will, and reduces general belief in free will. Results found partial evidence to show biologically framing a transgressor’s schizophrenia can diminish belief in free will and moral responsibility. Implications of findings, limitations, and directions for future research are discussed.

Citation Style

Ortiz, N. L. (2019) Biologically framed schizophrenia as a barrier to belief in free will (Master's thesis).


Thesis/Project Location