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Graduation Term


Document Type

Thesis-ISU Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Thomas Critchfield


This study investigated the emotional responses of self-identified parents to specific types of words, with special emphasis on technical jargon that is often employed in Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings. Participants (N = 178) who were recruited through the Amazon MTurk data collection platform first rated 11 commonly used English control words as a means of becoming familiar with the nine-point rating scale (1 = most unhappy or unpleasant, 9 = most unhappy or pleasant). Then, in randomized order, participants rated 36 terms that are often employed in IEP meetings and 12 additional control words commonly found in the English language. The key finding was that IEP-related terms were perceived as roughly neutral, but as less pleasant than English words in general. The emotional valence of IEP-related terms was about the same, or more pleasant than, that of some other types of professional jargon. Participant demographic factors were found not to significantly predict variance in emotional responding to IEP-related terms.


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