EXPERIMENTER EXPECTANCY, PARALANGUAGE CUES, SUBJECT SEX, SUBJECT SET, AND TASK AMBIGUITY IN A WORD ASSOCIATION TASK
KeywordsPsychology -- Research.
Psychology -- Research -- Effect of experimenters on.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractEffects of paralanguage cues of expectancy, experimenter expectancy, subject set, subject sex, and task ambiguity on subjects' reaction time to a list of words were studied in a factorial 3 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 repeated measurement analysis of variance design. Subjects were 144 undergraduate psychology students, half males and half females, receiving extra class credit for participation. Experimenters were four paid graduate teaching assistants, two males and two females. The study had several purposes. One purpose was to study the relative impact of the paralanguage cues of expectancy in the instruction reading versus all other cues of expectancy on subjects' behavior. A second purpose was to determine the nature of the interaction between task ambiguity and expectancy cues. A third purpose was to study sex differences in susceptibility to expectancy cues. Studying the effect of subject set instructions which provide a hint as to the experimental hypothesis and a request to comply with it on subjects' responses was a fourth purpose. Finally, a fifth purpose was to study further subjects' awareness of the stimuli that affect their behavior. Paralanguage expectancy cues were manipulated by a drama professor tape recording the task instructions so as to induce quick, neutral or slow responses. Task ambiguity was manipulated by having simple (nonambiguous) and homonym (ambiguous) words in the list. Experimenter expectancy and subjects' set were manipulated by written instructions. A significant main effect for paralanguage cues of expectancy (p < .001) and a significant interaction among paralanguage expectancy cues, experimenter expectancy, and subject set (p < .01) were sound as well as unhypothesized significant main effect for ambiguity (p < .05). Subjects were found to be unaware of the paralanguage cues that affected their behavior even with subject set instructions (independence model, x² = 4.85 4 df p < .3). The main effect for experimenter expectancy mediated by all other nonverbal cues except those in the instructions reading, and the interaction between word ambiguity and expectancy cues, and that between subject sex and expectancy cues were not significant. The present results support previous findings concerning the effect of manipulated paralanguage expectancy cues and the relative importance of these cues over all other nonverbal cues of expectancy, and extend these previous findings by including subjects of both sexes in a nonevaluation apprehension situation. The present findings also support previous studies which found that subjects comply with expectancy information given to them irrespective of its social desirability and that they are unaware of the expectancy cues affecting their behavior. The present findings do not support previous findings on the interaction between subject sex and experimenter expectancy. Due to subjects' general unawareness of the paralanguage cues of expectancy affecting their behavior, an adequate test of the dominant subject role in this study was not possible.
Degree ProgramGraduate College