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Graduate Defense: Thomas Voccola

April 11 @ 9:00 am - 10:00 am MDT

Thesis Defense

Thesis Information

Title: The Anthropology Of Self: Examining How A Transformative Method Of Achieving Higher Positive Self-Concept Clarity Impacts Individual Behavior, Relationships And Group Cooperation.

Program: Master of Arts in Anthropology

Advisor: Dr. John Ziker, Anthropology

Committee Members: Dr. Kendall House, Anthropology and Dr. Jessica Ayers, Psychological Science


Current human development models suggest that an individual randomly arrives at a high or low self-concept in a non-linear fashion over the course of their lifetime (Baltes, 1987; Lerner, 1998). This roll-of-the-dice model can result in the introduction of significant pathologies that are not conducive to psychological or psychosocial well-being (Cherry, 2022). By accepting this default, individuals are denied agency in achieving a state that can significantly improve their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being and their ability to forge healthy and productive relationships (Orenstein & Erikson, 2023). The current study examines three questions: First, can Passion & Purpose, an experimental intervention applied to two diverse organizations, positively impact the perception of Self-Concept Clarity in individuals three years after participation? Second, does achieving higher self-concept clarity improve an individual’s outlook, behavior, and working relationships? Finally, does higher Self-Concept Clarity lead to better relationships and, therefore, more cooperative and effective teams? Novel transformational models are introduced and discussed.