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Date of Award

Spring 2018


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Document Type

Thesis: EWU Only

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS) in Psychology: General/Experimental




According to self-compassion researcher Kristin Neff (2003), self-compassion encompasses three factors: self-kindness, mindfulness, and common humanity. Common humanity is the belief that suffering is a shared human experience that all people go through at some point in their lives (Neff, 2003b; 2008). Previous research based on self-report data suggests that when applying compassion, people tend to be harsher on themselves and more compassionate toward others (Neff, 2003a). This study aims to explore the factor of common humanity and whether people tend to identify with this factor more in relation to their own experiences or those experiences of others. Most of the previous research on self-compassion used explicit measures which can be scientifically limiting (Greenwald, McGhee, & Schwartz, 1998). This study developed an implicit measure of common humanity using the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP), a well-established measure of implicit beliefs. Participants completed the implicit assessment as well as Neff’s self-compassion scale. Results of 55 participants (N = 55) indicated that explicitly, participants reported more common humanity toward other’s experiences and more isolation toward those of their own. Implicitly, however, participants showed a bias toward associating more common humanity to experiences of the self and less isolation level than the one reported in the questionnaire. Surprisingly, even though the level of self-isolation was less than reported, participants showed a bias toward associating lower level of isolation to others’ experiences of difficulty than experiences of the self. Implications and limitations of this study are further discussed.