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A STUDY OF PERCEPTUAL RECOGNITION IN TWO SENSE MODALITIES.
EDUCATIONAL TESTING SERVICE PRINCETON NJ
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The adverse effect of early exposure to ambiguity upon subsequent recognition of ambiguous stimuli was studied in two sense modalities. In order to test the generality of previous findings in which blurred visual images served as the ambiguous stimuli, an auditory recognition test was developed which employed a previously untried technique for producing ambiguity. The Auditory Recognition Test contained a series of words which served as the objects to be recognized. These words were rendered ambiguous by masking them with a mixture of other speech sounds and ambiguity was slowly reduced by the gradual attenuation of the mask. Both recognition tasks, therefore, presented the subject with a situation which his erroneous initial hypotheses about the nature of the of the stimulus were gradually disconfirmed, as the degree of ambiguity degree of focus or masking level was slowly reduced. The experimental subjects were divided into two groups, each of which was exposed to a different overall range of ambiguity. Subjects in the second treatment group began each auditory and visual test item at a later stage of ambiguity than did subjects in the first group. The subjects in the first group were thus given more of an opportunity to misinterpret the ambiguous stimuli than were those in the second group. It was hypothesized that the reduction in the range of ambiguity covered in the presentation of auditory and visual items should result in the earlier recognition of the items by subjects in the second group this hypothesis was strongly confirmed for both sense modalities. Author
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE