An exploratory study of perceptual attitudes



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It was the purpose this study to continue explorations into two perceptual attitudes derived by Klein and his collaborators at the Menninger Clinic - Leveling vs. Sharpening, and Tolerance vs. Resistance to the Unstable. The study was designed to: (1) determine the intraconsistency of the perceptual measures within the perceptual attitudes; (2) test the assumption that the two perceptual attitudes are not essentially the same perceptual attitude; (3) investigate any parallels or relationships between the perceptual attitudes and other areas of behavior; and (4) investigate other methods of scoring two of the basic perceptual tasks. Mine tasks, five group-administered and four individually-administered, were used to measure five areas of behavior-perception, motor behavior, problem-solving, concept formation and personality. Seventeen measures in all were derived from the nine tasks. Subjects for the experiment were drawn from sixty students enrolled in a beginning course in psychology at the University of Houston. The tasks were: (1) Judging of the Squares; (2) Gottschaldt Embedded Figures; (3) Apparent Movemnt Phenomenon; (4) Flicker Fusion; (5) Writing "q's" forward and backward; (6) Luchins' Einstellung task; (7) Object-Sorting task; (8) Self-Concept task; and (t) Rorschach test. The scores for the nine tasks were intercorrelated and the results were used to satisfy the purposes of the study. CONCLUSIONS 1. There was a low but significant relationship between the Judging of the Squares, average accuracy and Gottschaldt Embedded Figures task. The final measure, leveling sharpening, of the Judging of the Squares task yields little or no relationship with the Gottschaldt Embedded Figures task. Judging of the Squares seems to have more meaning and gives better predictions of the perceptual attitude than does the Gottschaldt Embedded Figures task. 2. There is no interconsistency between the Apparent Movement task and the Flicker Fusion task. The range of speed over which apparent movement is experienced seems to be a very good measure of the Tolerance vs. Resistance to the Unstable perceptual attitude. 3. An additional method of scoring the Judging of the Squares task, the measurement of the shift in judgments, was shown to be different from ths methods previously used by Klein. Lagging vs. shifting and leveling vs. sharpening, as defined in this study, seem to be different behaviors. 4. An alternative way of measuring the Apparent Movement task, the speed of alternation at which movement is first experienced, proved to be similar to Klein's measure of the range over which apparent movement is experienced, but did not seem as sensitive or as effective in predictions as the method used by Klein. 5. The two perceptual attitudes do not seem to co-vary; at least there is no evidence of association between the presently developed operations for the two attitudes. 6. The perceptual attitudes are useful constructs; that is, they appear to have "surplus value" for studying the organization of personality. 7. The relationship between the Judging of the Squares task and the more complex measures of personality derived from the Self-Concept task was similar to the one described by Klein. 8. A cluster of relationships involving conceptualization in object-sorting, perception of form on the Rorschach test, and perception of apparent movement seems descriptive of the Tolerance vs. Resistance to the Unstable attitude. It seems as if the behavior involves appraising "reality" on the basis of "what things are known to be" as opposed to "what things could be." There also appears to be a suggestion that these behaviors involve some aspect of a willingness to accept things for what they are without too early a closure or a binding to a fixed reality.



Attitude (Psychology), Psychological tests