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A Study of Perceptual Recognition in Two Sense Modalities NICHD

Frederiksen, John R.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), Office of Naval Research, Ambiguity, Auditory Perception, Auditory Recognition Test, Cognitive Style, Recognition (Psychology), Visual Perception, Witkin, Herman A., Word Recognition


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 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 in which his erroneous initial hypotheses about the nature of the stimulus were gradually disconfirmed, as the degree of ambiguity (degree of focus or masking level) was slowly reduced. A number of findings are discussed.

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