Date of Graduation

Summer 2017


Master of Science in Psychology



Committee Chair

Erin Buchanan


conscientiousness, judgments of learning, cortisol, mediation, metacognition

Subject Categories

Biological Psychology


Cortisol assists in facilitating stress response. A peak in cortisol levels can be seen between 20 and 40 minutes after exposure to the stressful event. Judgments of learning (JOLs) are within the field of metacognition and are judgments individuals make about how well they feel they have acquired the target information. Many factors influence the accuracy of these judgments, including whether they are immediate or delayed. Conscientiousness is a characteristic of personality that is associated with responsibility and organization. Individuals high in conscientiousness are more likely to have positive health related outcomes. A relationship between conscientiousness and the appraisal of stressors exists, and this study sought to extend that relationship to cortisol and the ways in which conscientiousness may influence salivary cortisol levels. Since conscientiousness is associated with more approach-based methods to handle stress, as well as more organization and responsible behaviors, this study also predicted a correlation between higher conscientiousness scores and increased JOL accuracy. Finally, the mediating effects of cortisol on the relationship between conscientiousness and JOLs was evaluated. The results support previous JOL research, in addition to supporting the relationship between conscientiousness and cortisol. The relationship between conscientiousness and JOLs, as well as the mediated relationship, were found to be nonsignificant.


© Katherine D. Miller

Open Access