Ambiguity and response conflict: a conceptual and experimental analysis
Klein, Malcolm W.
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This study tests the proposition that the speed of recognition of ambiguous visual stimuli can be predicted from propositions derived from behavioral conflict theory. A literature review indicates that no common, generally accepted conceptualization of the nature of ambiguity exists, and that confusion abounds due to the myriad purposes, definitions, and operations involved in previous studies involving ambiguous factors. Several writers have suggested the similarity of ambiguous stimuli to conflict-arousing stimuli; and several conflict factors have been shown to affect response time. Among these are the number, relative strengths, and absolute strengths of competing response tendencies. Accordingly, it was hypothesized that time to final recognition of serially presented ambiguous stimuli would be a function of the number of response alternatives available, their relative probabilities of occurrence, and their absolute strengths. Number of alternatives were varied by allowing S's to choose between two or four alternatives. Probabilities were varied by associating 3 to 1, 1 to 3, and even odds with the alternatives. Two variations of absolute strengths were induced by reinforcing or not reinforcing correct alternatives over a series of four trials preceding the critical trial. [TRUNCATED]
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University
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