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Variables Affecting the Occurrence of Assimilation and Contrast: The Role of Category Number and Distance

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dc.contributor.advisor Perloe, Sidney Mitchell, Rebecca Lynn 2015-03-30T17:21:07Z 2015-03-30T17:21:07Z 1990
dc.description.abstract Two experiments were conducted to study the role of two factors as determinants of contrast and assimilation in judgment: the presence of one vs. two categories in the context and the distance between stimuli and the context established. In the first experiment, subjects (n=96) judged a series of squares based on the density of characters within the squares; in the second experiment, subjects (n=36) judged the pathology evidenced in a series of definitions. Subjects in both experiments were initially exposed to an induction series of stimuli. This induction series involved one of three numbers of categories: 1) one category (restricted range); 2) two categories, created by a superimposed correlated cue (full range); 3) zero categories (full range). In the first experiment, the induction series was either a small distance or a large distance from the test items. Following this induction series, all subjects judged mid-range test stimuli that were outside the range of the induction items. In the two-category condition, the test items were associated with one of the categories. The results from ANOVAs for both experiments revealed that the one-category subjects contrasted the test items with the preceding context and judged them significantly higher than did subjects in the other two conditions (p > .01). The two-category subjects did not assimilate the test items toward the category to which they belonged. Additionally, the results for the first experiment revealed surprisingly that the subjects in the large distance condition rated the test stimuli as closer to the preceding context (assimilation) than did the subjects in the small distance condition (contrast). It was suggested that the differing ranges of the induction stimuli may have had an important impact on the effects of both the category number and distance manipulations. Finally, the differences between assimilation and contrast processes were discussed, in light of the findings of these two experiments.
dc.description.sponsorship Haverford College. Department of Psychology
dc.language.iso eng
dc.subject.lcsh Judgment -- Social aspects
dc.title Variables Affecting the Occurrence of Assimilation and Contrast: The Role of Category Number and Distance
dc.type Thesis
dc.rights.access Haverford users only

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