Group Title: influence of affect-stimuli on subsequent performance
Title: The Influence of affect-stimuli on subsequent performance
CITATION PDF VIEWER THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00098015/00001
 Material Information
Title: The Influence of affect-stimuli on subsequent performance
Physical Description: 36 leaves : illus. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Levin, Herman Ivan, 1932-
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 1958
Copyright Date: 1958
 Subjects
Subject: Behavorism (Psychology)   ( lcshac )
Psychology, Comparative   ( lcshac )
Psychology thesis Ph. D   ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Psychology -- UF   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Bibliography: leaf 36.
Additional Physical Form: Also available on World Wide Web
General Note: Manuscript copy.
General Note: Thesis - University of Florida.
General Note: Vita.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00098015
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: alephbibnum - 000541579
oclc - 13057622
notis - ACW5124

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:

PDF ( 1 MBs ) ( PDF )


Full Text










THE INFLUENCE OF AFFECT-STIMULI

ON SUBSEQUENT PERFORMANCE












By
HERMAN IVAN LEVIN


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE
DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY












UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
August, 1958















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


The author wishes to thank the members of his supervisory

ca:mittee: Dr. James C. Dixon, Chairman; Dr. Rolland H. Waters;

Dr. Richard J. Andersonj Dr. Elmer D. Hinckley; and Dr. Albert M.

Barrett for the interest shown and the effort expended in the production

and development of this dissertation.

To my friends and fellow graduate students, Robert Procter,

Denis O'Donovan, Charlotte Ince, who in one ay or another have con-

tributed immeasurably to this work, also my sincerest thanks and

deepest gratitude.














TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page
ACKNOWIEDGEITS . . . . . . ........ ii

LIST OF TABLES.,L e ....... .. . .. iv

Chapter

I. INTRODUCTION . . .. .. . . . . 1

II. PROSEDURE. .. . . . ........ . . 7

III. RESULTS. .. .. . . . . 16

IV. DISCUSSION . ... ... . ..... 23

V. SUMART ................. ...... 28

APPEDIXES. . . . . .... . . . 30

I. COMPARISON OF AVERAGE AFFECT RANKINGS OF STIMULI BI
JUDGES AND SUBJECTS. SALE OF AFFECT RANGED FROM 1
FOR VERT PLEASANT; THROUGH 3 for NEUTRAL TO 5 FOR
VERT UNPLEASAT......... ............ 31

II. STIMULUS MATERIAL: EXPERIMENTL TASKS PRECEDED BY
AFFICT-WiRDS ... . . . . . . 32

III. DIAGRAM OF CONTINUOUS VOICE KET. . . . . ... 34

IV. DIAGRAM OF WIRING OF SWITC7G ........... 35

BIBLIOGWAPTI . . . a . . . . . .. .. . 36














LIST OF TABLES


Table Page

1. Results of the Complex Analysis of Variance for Speed . 17

2. Results of the Complex Analysis of Variance for Accuracy. 19















CHAPTER I


INTRODUCTION


The presentation of a atbmlus to influence the responses of

a subject to susequent stiamlation is an epetrimetal situation fre-

quttly encountered in psychology. Experiments in such diversified

areas as larniag, transfer, motivation, and pereeptin have all used

this prooodure. The present experiment canferm to this general

appreskh by investigating the influence of affect-stiMul upon behavior

in a subsequent task situation. It attempts to find an answer to the

quastion-Doee the response of a subject to a standardized task differ

in either speed or accuracy when the task follows on ae eeeasion a pleas-

ant stimulus, on a second occasion a neutral stirmuia, and on a third

eceasies an unpleasant atialuam


oent Iiterature

The literature concerning the influence ef affect on future

performance can rather arbitrarily be divided into thoue studies which

are aat concerned with the pereeptaal variables of performnee and these

which are emst omeerned with the response variables of pferfirmae.,


Influenee of Aft ct en weoptumal Variables of Performane

Sines the work of tanford (10) en need in pereeptieo, it Lea

beems mere and mere apparent that peyebSloegeal falters ean and 4

1










2

influence the subject's perception of external stimuli. Stimuli may,

within the bounds placed by reality factors, be selected on the basis

of the subject's needs, desires, values, and fears (M). Pleasant,

valued, or need-related stimuli tend to be perceived more readily than

do neutral stimuli (4). Unpleasant, threatening, or taboo stimuli tend

in general to be perceived less readily-though there is considerable

evidence for wide individual variation in the perception of unpleasant

stimuli (4).

The affective nature of the stimulus not only influences the

perception of the affect-stimulus itself, but also tends to influence

the perception of other stimuli occurring in the same or in immediately

succeeding fields. Affect-stimuli seem to impose "severe limits . .

upon the breadth and character of perception" (1). Neutral stimuli in

the same or in immediately succeeding fields will be less adequately

perceived (1). A task to be performed in relation to these stimuli,

it may be assumed, would be hampered or left undone. Two studies

have been found in the literature that are concerned with the percep-

tion of neutral stimuli in affective fields.

McGinnies (7) tested the influence of unpleasant stimuli on the

thresholds of subsequently presented neutral stimuli in an attempt to

demonstrate the operation of motivational factors in perceptual defense.

His subjects were presented eight task words-four following the pre-

sentation of taboo words and four following the presentation of neutral

words. The task words were equated for frequency and neutrality. The










3

recognition tbreshe s for task words were sigtifieantly higher when

they folleeed taboo words than when they follend neutral words.

Seper (11) attempted to deamatrate Gebs hypothesis that the

preentatim of stidEml which a pleasant or unpleasant to the individual

result in a decreased ability to peeeive other details in the pereeptual

field. He presented his subjects with three eets of typed werdnlists

arraae soe that in ome ast of list. every fifth word w- pleasant in

a second, every fifth word was neutral; and in a third, every fifth

word was mpleeent. After oae-minute presentation of the lists, the

subject ware asked to recall as many words as peesible. Results in

general wore in the predicted direetias; that i., a significantly

greater number of field words were reported from the neutral than from

either the pLaesnt or unpleaant lists.


The Influeee ef Affeet en Rpese Variables in Perfornmee

Two area of research ceoerning the influeuee of afeet on

reepense variable here converge. One of them areas is the infliuaee

of reports of previous "weeNese or "fAilure" en perforneme; the other

is the influence of affect-stimli en asseelation to future stimulus

words on the Word Association Tfet.

Studies on Ieueees" and "failure" tend to show a deterieretion

in pfrfomanee after fatlue experience; ieirmeint in performed

after suees experienees Tse effects eeur beth in the learning of

verbal material and in the perfor eem e ef payshlmtu tracks. The sK-

peoted effeets, however, are not always the obtained results. SNveal












studies even show improvement under failure conditions. Lazarus (6),

in suwming up the review from which this material was obtained, states

that the nature of the task, the kinds and amount of stress, individual

differences, and the measures of efficiency must all be taken into

account in predicting the influence of affect on performance.

Both Jxng (5) and Rapaport (9) in their experiences with the

clinical application of the Word Association Test have observed a

perseverative influence of emotionally toned words on the associations

of subjects to subsequent stimulus words. Perseverative influences are

stated as being observed in the inappropriate repetition of the associa-

tion word and/or in aa increase in association time. Hull (3) attempted

as a minor part of his experiment on the diagnostic ability of complex

signs to test perseveration as one of his complex signs. He found that

neither of the clinically observed effects of perseveration occurred

in his subjects. The experimental design, not being specifically set

up to test perseverative influences, did not, however, permit an adequate

test of this phenmenon. The clinical observations of Jung and Rapaport

in this area remain untested.


Hypotheses

Studies in both the areas of perception and performance tend to

indicate that unpleasant stimuli will negatively influence performance

on a subsequent task. Disagrearent occurs between studies in the two areas

on the influence of pleasant stimuli on subsequent performance. Since,

however, both measures in the present experiment are predominately











5
perfermsnce mamures, it is expected that the effects of pleasant

timali. will be to facilitate subsequiet perforaeee. The hypothesa

will, however, be east in the null form.

etst sois 1.-There wll be no relation betwea the affective

taen of a stimulus, whether pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral, and the

speed of the subject's response to a staanrdised task which immediately

follows upon the presentation of the stimulus. That is to say, when the

speed of reaction to a standardized task which follws an unpleasant

stimuis is compared with the speed of reaction to tir same standardized

task whme it follows ether a neutral ar a pleasant stimulus, no

statistically sigifieaat differeaee are expected to oecur.

korrtpig 2-There will be no relation between the affective

teoe of a stial s, whether pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral, and the

accuracy of the subjet's responses to a standardized task which

immediately follies upeo the presentation of the stimulus. That is to

say, whea the accuracy of reaction te a standardized task which follows

an uIpleasant stimulus is compared with the accuracy of reaction te the

ame standardized task when it follows either a neutral or a p] asant

stimulus, ne statistically sigtifieat differences are expected to occur.

To tet the aboer hypethewss, subjects were asked to spell

aled a series of three-consenant nonsense syllables following pi asant,

unpleasant and neutral words. Measures of speed and accureay of this

respense wre obtained.










6


Definition of a Term

At this point note should be taken of the terms used to denote

the subject's speed of reaction to the task following the affect word.

Both the terms speed of reaction and reaction time have previously been

used by experimenters to denote the temporal interval between a stimulus

and the response. In this experiment these terms are used to denote

the time it takes the subject to perform the task following the affect-

stimulus.














CHAPTER II


PROECKURI


aporimeata-l laniga
To test the hypothese, it was ne--msry to g through the

following steps in apparatus canstructier and preparation: (a) the

affect-stimul had to be selected; (b) the nceaneM-syllable tasks had to

be litrwise eeleetedj (c) slide containing one affeet-stimulu and one

meense-syllable task had to be eceatrueted; (d) the slides had to be

arranged J3 a particular eder for presentation to the subject; (e) an

inttraent to present the slides to the subjects had to be obtained

(f) appaatus that would record the speed and accuracy of respese to

the nsenmae-syl3able tasks had to be olnstrmated; and (g) the apparatus

had to be wired so the experimnter eaMco control from Moe sidtch the

presentation of the material and the apration of the instrument that

would record the speed of the subject's response to the task.

Selection of AMftet-worde

Affeet- srds had to be selected which weld shew a consistent

tendency to fall into either pehaant, neutral or unpleasant categories

when ramked by the judges. There was no need to equate the words in the

three affet-categories as to length or frequmeny sine it is the speed

and accuracy of nomaense-syllabl3 verbal report, rather thgn part of

7










8

the affect-stimulus, which is the subject's task.

The affect-words were obtained by presenting five graduate stu-

dents in psychology with a list of 394 words. These words were chosen

from the Thorndike Word List (12) with the intention of obtaining words

which were likely to have pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral connotations.

Each of the five graduate students ranked the 394 words on a five-point

scale. The scale points were: (1) very pleasant, (2) mildly pleasant,

(3) neutral, (4) mildly unpleasant, and (5) very unpleasant. The average

rank for each word was obtained. Any word which had an average rank of

at least mildly pleasant affect-tone and which was not ranked by any

judge as being unpleasant was considered for use as a pleasant affect-

word. Any word which had an average rank of at least mildly unpleasant

affect-tone and which was ranked by no judge as pleasant was considered

for use as an unpleasant affect-word. Only those words ranked by all

five judges as neutral were considered for use as neutral words. Twenty-

five pleasant, 25 neutral, and 25 unpleasant affect-words were chosen

randomly from thoe meeting the above criteria and were used in the

experimental slides. In addition, three pleasant, three unpleasant,

and three neutral words were selected to be used as part of the practice

slides. Practice slides were presented prior to the experimental

slides in an attempt to reduce practice effects which are likely to

occur in this type of experiment, and which would affect the dependent

variables of speed and accuracy.

Judges' ranks of the affect-words used in the experimental slides













eaa be see in Appendix I.


N nseme-syllable Tasks

The affeet-etimuli having been cheese, it was then napsesary to

shoose a sataWdardld task upon which e test their effects. A diffi-

eulty than areee in task election. If the m task were repeated

after each affeet-wurd, the practice effects would likely be ae great

that they wemld overshade the influsee of the affect- mrds themelvee.

If, on the other hand, different taaks were to follow each affest-werd,

differences in tak difficulty would like be so great that, again,

the influeP e of the affect-wrds weld be overshadowed. A cmpronse

was settled upen, using 25 different tasks, so that eash task would

felles one of the 25 pleasant werd, Me of the 25 neutral werds, and

me of the 30 pleasant werds. The task difficulty was therefore

equated by having the sam 25 tasks esur in seek of the three offeet-

grops. The effects of practice, which WLd have been great with the

repeed pressetation of the same task, were mininised by the fact that

there nre 25 different tasks to which the subject was to respond. Each

bjeet, then, received a total of 75 slede and made 75 ueasurable

responses.

To eonitutuute the taks nonsense syllables were choose. They

wen heksee because their degree effadliarity eeald be strolled;

because estimates of accuracy and peed of their prodetion could be

fairly easily measured; and because they wre a convenient material

with which to work. The fact that their degree of familiarity could










10

be controlled was most important to this experiment; it served to narrow

the range of difficulty among tasks without increasing the effects which

might result from practice. Under these conditions, the influence of

affect alone was more likely to be observable.

Eighty-four nonsense syllables consisting of three consonants

were chosen from Witmer's (13) list of association values of consonant

nonsense syllables. The range of association values from which the

nonsense syllables were chosen was from 0 per cent to 25 per cent.

Three nonsense syllables constituted a task. Nine of the nonsense

syllables were used to construct the three tasks for the practice

slides; 75 of the nonsense syllables were used to construct the 25

tasks for the experimental slides.


Preparation of Slides

Affect--words and nonsense syllable tasks were randomly assigned

to one another. Again, it should be noted the stipulation was that each

task would follow one unpleasant stimulus, one neutral stimulus, and

one pleasant stimulus. The physical preparation of the slides consisted

of typing the affect-word and the three nonsense syllables in a single

column on 3-1/2 x 4 inch sheets of thin drawing paper. Each sheet was

then placed between two thin pieces of glass to make a slide. Appendix

II shows the 25 experimental tasks preceded by their affect-words.


Arrangement of the Slides for Presentation to the Subjects

Since subjects tend to become more efficient in handling a











11

repeated similar situation, the slides were arranged in a stratified

random crder. Stratification was based on the assumption that in a

list in which three variables are to be distributed amoag 75 positions,

one run of four in a row, three runs of three in a row, eight runs of

two in a row, and 46 runs of one in a row ean be expected to occur.

Pleasant, unpleasant and neutral stimuli were assigned randeoly to the

various rans. The one stipulation ade was that 25 of the stimuli be

neutral, 25 pleasant, and 25 unpleasant. The result of assigning

affect-stimuli to runs provided one run of four, one run of three, two

runs of two, and 14 runs of ane for the neutral stimuli, and one run of

three, three runs of twe, and 16 runs of one for both the pleasant and

unpleasant stimuli.

Runs were assigned to each of the eight deeiles and to each of

the units of each of the deciles from a table of random numbers. For

instance, the experimenter would begin with the run of four neutral

slides and look in a table of random numbers to determine the appropriate

decile. The number seven occurred. The run was, therefore, to be

located in the seventh decile. The experimenter would then look again

into the table of random numbers to determine the unit position in the

docile of the run. The number two occurred and the run was, therefore,

to begin in the second unit of the seventh demile, or the number 62.

Two restrictions were placed on the ordering: (1) no run could succeed

or precede another run of the same affective toae; and (2) in each third

of the 75 slides, eight words of one affect, eight words of a sacnd










12

affect, and nine words of the third affect were to occur.

The specific affect-words were then placed randomly in the

appropriate positions. Here another stipulation was made. To assist

in controlling practice effects, no two similar sets of nonsense syllables

could occur in succession.


Apparatus

A projector that could handle slides of the appropriate dimn-

sions was obtained to project the slides on a projector screen.

A tape recorder was used to record the subject's report of the non-

sense syllables. Any errors, omissions or insertions in the spelling

of the nonsense syllables was considered an error.

A continuous voice key was constructed to measure the length of

time it took the subject to reproduce the nonsense syllables. Sounds

spoken into a microphone attached to the voice key closed the circuit,

and when the sounds ceased, the circuit was opened. By connecting this

apparatus to a signal magnet, by attaching a writing pen to the signal

magnet, and by placing the writing pen on a kymograph in motion, a

temporal pattern of speech sounds was obtained. Appendix III contains a

circuit diagram of the voice key.

The kymograph speed was regulated at 225 centimeters per minute.

When the speed was measured in millimeters, speed could be recorded to

27/1000 of a second. (Measurements of speed will be reported in milll-

meter units without converting them into seconds.)














The Wiring of the Apparatus

The apparatus was connected in such a way that the experimenter

could control the projector, kyegraph, and veio key by means of a

five-pole, two gang switch. It was arranged so that, in position 1,

the tape in the kyaograph was stationary, the pea was in position a"n,

the projector and the voice key were off; in positions 2 and 3, the tape

began te meoe, twh pea rose into position "b", the projector and the

voice key remained off; in position 4, the tape continued to move, the

pen fell back into position sa", the projector and voice key began to

work. While in petition I, each time the veLee key wma activated the

pen moved into position "b"; each time it was deactivated it returned

to petition "a". Thus in position 4, a graphic representation of the

subject's speech patterns was obtained. Position 5 as a cheek position

to test the workings of the voice key.

Appendix IV contains a circuit of the switch connections for

the two gangs.


Subjects

Seventy-five male undergraduabe students from the University of

Florida were used as subjects. Meet, though not all, were volunteers

from the beginning psyehelogy courses.


Mbthed

The subjects were brought into the ream and the tape recorded

was started. Each subject was then heated facing the projector esreen










14

and handed the microphone. A few remarks were made by the experimenter

in an attempt to make the subject feel more cuofortable. The experi-

menter then read the following instructions to the subject:

"You are to watch the screen each time I say 'ready.' Soon

after, a slide will be projected on the screen. This slide will consist

of one familiar word and three nonsense syllables. You are to read the

familiar word to yourself and then spell out loud into the microphone

the nonsense syllables. Spell the nonsense syllables as fast as you

can. If you make a mistake, don't stop but go on to the next letter.

For instance, a slide is projected on the screen with the word THERE

appearing on it and underneath in a column appear the nonsense syllables

ZFT, QHN, MTC. You are to read the word THER to yourself and then

spell out loud into the microphone Z-F-T, Q-H-N, M-T-C. Do you under-

stand"?

If any questions were asked, further explanations were given.

The 84 slides, including the nine practice slides and the 75

experimental slides, were then presented to the subject.

After the presentation of the slides, the subject was placed at

a desk with the list of 75 affect-words before him. The subject was

then given the following instructions:

"I want y~o to rank the words on this sheet of paper in one of

five categories. If the word has a very pleasant ring or association

connected with it, circle the letter P. If a mildly pe asant association,

circle the first dot. If the word has neither a pleasant nor unpleasant










15

association connected with it, but a neutral ome, circle the letter

NI If the word has a mildly unpleasant association, circle the second

dot. And finally, if the word has a very rmpeasant association,

circle the letters UP. Are there any questima*?

The subject then rated the affeet-vwrds in the five possible

eategoriee.

This latter procedure, the rating of the experimental affect-

wards by the subject, was included to determine the similarity between

subjects' aad judges' ratings of the affeet-words. If the ratings are

markedly dimimilar, then the independent variable of affective tone

is cefeunded and the experimental results queetionable.














CHAPTER III


RESULTS


The Correlation between Judges' and Subjects' Ratings

The mean of the affect-ratings of the judges' and of the

subjects for each of the 75 experimental words can be seen in Appendix

I. A rank order correlation of .94 was obtained between the two sets

of data. Subjects' and judges' ratings of affect-words were, therefore,

highly similar in this study.


The Influence of Affect-stimuli on Speed of Reaction

Table 1 contains the results of a triple classification, complex

analysis of variance for task speed. Since 75 subjects were presented

with 25 tasks in each of three different affect-situations, the analysis

of variance has three categories in one variable (pleasant, unpleasant,

and neutral affect), 25 categories in another variable (each of the 25

sets of nonsense syllables) and 75 categories in a third variable (each

of the 75 subjects).

The 75 individuals differed significantly from one another in

speed of reaction to the tasks at less than the 1% level of confidence.

As expected, one individual reacted more swiftly to a situation of this

nature than did another.














RESULTS OF THE


TABLE 1

COMPLEX ANALYSIS OF VARIANCE FOR SPEED


Soere Ste of Derees of Variane Significance
Squares FreedeM Ektimate Level

Affect 22.64 2 11.32 Net significant

Tasks 5657.18 2k 235.72 Belor 1%

Subjects 41474.88 74 560.07 Bolow 1%

Interactioa: taska
and objects 11191.50 1776 6.30 Blelw 1%

Interaction: taske
and affect 4j3.38 48 9.23 Belar 1%

Interaction affect
and subject 473.72 148 3.20 Not significant

Triple interaetio 13357.90 3552 3.76

Taeal 72621.20 5624



am-nce-syllable tasks also differed significantly from me

another in their tendency to influenee the speed of the subjects'

reaetioms. This wm so, despite ti attempted to control task difficulty

on the basai of familiarity. Certain nowsese-eyllable groups, regardless

of te affeet-stImula wIhih proved them, were rested to ore aloirly

by the subjects tha were other aaense-syllable greape.

The results of the toet of tih first hypothesis are rather eem-

phex. Stim li of different affect-tone did not sigific atly influence

the speed of reaction to subsequent tapr wiMe tea s if d ai










18

significantly from one another. However, when affect-tone and the nature

of the task were taken jointly into consideration (the interaction of

task and affect), significant findings below the 1% level were obtained.

The experimental answer, then, is that p3e asant, unpleasant and neutral

stimuli influenced the task differentially when the nature of the task

was taken into consideration. When compared with neutral stimuli, un-

pleasant stimuli slowed the response and pleasant stimuli speeded the

response.

Concerning the other interactions, the interaction between

tasks and subjects was significant; the interaction between affect and

subjects was not significant.


The Influence of Affect-stimuli on the Accuracy of Report

Table 2 contains the results of a triple classification, complex

analysis of variance for the accuracy of the subjects' reports. Since

the same number of measurements were made on the accuracy of the subjects'

responses as on the speed of the response, again the analysis of variance

has three categories in one variable (affect-stimuli), 25 categories

in another variable (nonsense-syllable groups), and 75 categories in a

third variable (subjects).

Individuals again differed significantly from one another

(below 1% level of confidence) in their reactions as measured by accuracy

of report; that is, some subjects tended to be more accurate than others.

Nonsense-syllable groups also again differed significantly from one another

in the accuracy of the reactions which they tended to elicit. Some










19
nemeemne-syllable groups tended to elicit more error than did others.


RESULTS OF THE


TABLE 2

COMPLEX ANALYSIS OF VARIANCE FOR ACCURACY


Sms of Degrees of Varioane Significance
Square Freedom atimate Level


Affeet .96 2 .48 Not significant

Task 38.23 24 1.59 Below 1%

Subjects 61.22 74 .83 Below 1%

Interaction : tasks
and subjects 43j.12 1776 .2k Below 1%

Interaction: tasks
and affect 17.7k4 S .37 Below 1%

Interastiet affect
and subjects 28.03 148 .19 Net significant

Triple intereetien 637.27 3552 .18

Tetal 1217.57 562k



The second hypethesie-that differing affeetive stimuli will net

result in varying accuracy on the taks--eannot be rejected, when the

tka sva ry sigifieaatl, mi t pmalves. HeMver, Aea affective tone

and the inherent task differences wre taken jointly into eernideration

(interaction et task and affect), signifioant differences beler the 1%

level of confidene were obtained. Both pleasant and unpleasant stimuli

elicited significantly fewer errors than did mutral stimuli.










20

Concerning the other interactions, the interaction between tasks

and subjects was significant; the interaction between affect and subjects

was not*


Comparison of the Two Complex Analyses of Variance

If we regard fast and accurate report as task efficiency, then

efficiency varied with the response measure used (when task differences

also were taken into consideration). When the speed of reaction to the

nonsense syllables is taken as the measure of influence, unpleasant

stimuli instigate the longest reaction times (average 15.02 mm. per

task per subject); neutral stimuli the next longest (average 15.00 nm

per task per subject); and pleasant stimuli the shortest (14.88 mm

per task per subject). When accuracy of report of the nonsense syllables

is taken as the measure of influence, more errors were made on nonsense

syllables following neutral words (average .187 per task per subject);

than on nonsense syllables following unpleasant words (average .161 per

task per subject) or pleasant words (average .157 per task per subject).

The results indicate that while unpleasant stimuli, when compared with

neutral stimuli, resulted in slower reactions, they also produced more

accurate reactions. Pleasant stimuli resulted in faster reactions and

more accurate reports when compared with both neutral and unpleasant

stimuli.













Nature of the Task that Interact with Affect to
Pro de Siaif iat rmaml

It has been noted above that the interaction of task differences

and affective tone was significant. The following data are presented

in an attempt to test the assumption that the significant interaction

between task and affect is a function of task difficulty. If task

difficulty is the important property of the task in the interaction

effects, the responses to the ten hardest tasks would be more likely

influenced in the direction expected from the obtained results than

would the responses to the ten easiest tasks. This would mean (a)

that, for speed, responses following pleasant stimuli would be the

shortest responses folloLng unpleasant stimili the longest; (b)

that, for accuracy, reepnases following pleasant stimuli would contain

the least errors; responses following neutral stimuli would contain the

emast.

.Fth sign tests of sigaifianese and t tests of significance

were obtained for the ten hardest and the ten easiest tasks caoparing

the speed and accuracy of respeonse following each of the three different

affects (for any one sign test or any one t test, of course, only tasks

following two different affects were compared). The results were ambiguous,

at least as far as the interpretation is coieerned. Trends were of such

a nature that the more difficult tasks tended to fall in the expected

order more frequently than did the easier tasks for both measures of

speed and accuracy. The sign tests only tended to confirm the trends 4










22

for speed (the comparison between neutral and pleasant and between

pleasant and unpleasant were significant for difficult tasks below the

5% level of confidence). The t tests showed no significance for either

measure of response either for difficult or easy tasks. Any interpreta-

tion of task difficulty as being the property of the task contributing

to the significant interaction between affect and task would have to be

made with extreme caution.














CHAPTER IV


DISCUSSION


Lasaru (6), as has been noted in the introduction, states that

the nature of the tack, individual differences, and measures of efficiency,

as wll as the kind and degree of affect influeme the results of a

subject's performance on a bask following affective stimulation. This

is what teded to happen in this study. The degree of affect is mild.

en this is eo ad task vary greatly &a g theselves, affect does

net seem to inflwuae performance. When, however, the nature of the

task is taken into consideration, even this mild degree of affect

become ipertant in the efficiency of produetiea of the release. When

different response masires of efficiency are used, a given affect, un-

pleasant in nature, may have at oe and the sae tim facilitating

effects ae one type of response measure and detrimental effects on

another type of mersre. The oely aae of the peesible determinant of

the task performaaee mentioned by LMearue that is net observed in this

study to differentiate reaetions is individual differences in the reaction

be affect-tomes (the interaction between affect and subjects is not

significant). This seold eeily be due to the mildnea of the affective

stimulation.













Interaction of Affect and the Nature of the Task

Mild affect, when considered alone, does not influence either the

speed or accuracy of the performance of a subject on a series of tasks

which differ widely among themselves. When, however, the nature of the

task is taken into consideration the affect does seem te influence the

performance. A similar situation has occurred previously in the

literature. This was encountered by Postman and Schneider (8) in their

study comparing the relative effects of value and frequency on word

threshold. These authors sum their results thus, "We find frequency

of word usage is significant whereas value in and of itself is not.

The interaction between frequency and value is, however, significant, i.

e., the effect of value rank on duration thresholds depends on the level

of word frequency." The obvious correlate of word frequency in the

present study is task difficulty. Task difficulty, however, did not

unambiguously allow for the rejection of the null hypotheses. Though

trends were in the appropriate direction (performance on the more

difficult tasks occurring more in line with the order predicted on the

basis of the obtained results), variations among tasks were too great

for these trends to reach significance.


Influence of Varying Degrees of Affect on Performance

Only one degree of affect was used in this study, a very mild

one. Previously in the literature muh greater degrees of affective

stimulation have been used-to the point of emotional arousal. To fit










25

the results of this study into this body of literature, Duffy's (2)

activation theory of emotion is used. Each of three emuerpts frao her

work is followed by an attempt to integrate the results of this study.

"The chief point in regard to arousal, . is that arousal

occurs on a continuum, from a low point during deep sleep to a high point

during extra effort or great excitement, with ne distinguishable break

for such conditions as sleep or 'emobiem. Our affective stimuli are

sew-here between the lewr ead and the middle of the continue. In

addition to the faster of the waking state, perforuanwe situation, etc.,

pleasant and unpleasant stimuli can aly be Slightly more activating than

neutral stimuli.

"When performasne has been observed to vary nader certain con-

ditions . it is suggested that the variatioes ay be due, at least

in part, to the effect of varying degrees of arousal. The diserganise-

timn of responses frequently reported during 'oremetivatioa' or 'metioa'

. may be conselved of as resulting in part from too high a degree of

arousal. Such a eoaditdn would be repr4Eented at one end of the U-

shaped curve. A similar dis*ganiateon ef responses, found erastima

during drowiness or fatigue, would be represented at the other end of

the curve skewing the relationship between aresal and perforsiaee."

One woued uppees that mild affect, pleasant or unpleasant in nature,

would increase performance abeat equally--eine both would increase

activation approximately the esAe amount. Hewer, it was fomud thb%

pleasant and unpleasant stimli have different effects on perforaeasn










26

when speed is the response measure. To account for the results, another

of Duffy's terms "direction" of behavior needs to be defined.

"'Direction' in behavior refers to the fact that the individual

does 'this' rather than 'that', or responds positively to certain cues

and negatively to others." Pleasant stimuli produce positive responses,

unpleasant stimuli, negative ones. Probably in an activation theory

such as Duffy's a much greater amount of attention, than is at present

placed, should be paid to these directional factors.


Differential Effects of Unpleasant and Neutral
Stimuli for Different Response Measures

When speed is the response measure, unpleasant stimuli have a

negative effect on performance when compared to neutral stimuli. When

accuracy is the response measure, unpleasant stimuli have a positive

effect on performance. This tends to go counter to the experimental

results reported by Lazarus (6) that in stress situations (assumed to

be of unpleasant affective nature) speed increases while accuracy

decreases. It does, however, fit in with his theorizing that depending

upon the variables involved in the situation, such as expectancy, stress

will either increase or decrease in particular performance measure. It

is suggested that, though speed and accuracy were both stressed in the

instructions to the subjects, accuracy was emphasized more by the

subjects. Accuracy, rather thcn speed, is what has previously been

stressed in similar situations. Of the two variables which might be

detrimentally affected by unpleasant situations, the less "important"











27

of the two is the ome hieh is hampered.














CHAPTER V


SULIARY


The purpose of this experiment was to observe the influence

of affect-stimuli on the performance of an immediately following task.

The stimulus material, presented on a projector screen to 75 subjects,

consisted of one affect-word (the affect-stimulus) followed by three-

consonant nonsense syllables (the task). Affect-words-25 pleasant,

25 neutral, and 25 unpleasant--were chosen on the basis of the judgments

made by five graduate students in psychology. Confirmation of the

affective nature of the stimulus was obtained through the judgments of

the 75 subjects. Each of the 25 tasks on one occasion followed an

unpleasant stimulus, n a second occasion followed a neutral stimulus

and on a third occasion a pleasant stimulus.

The instructions were for the subject to first read the affect-

stimulus word to himself, then to spell aloud as fast and accurately

as possible the nonsense syllables. The measure of the influence of

affect-stimuli on performance ws the speed and accuracy of the subject's

spelling of the nonsense syllables.

The results show that the influence of affect on the responses

to the task is a complex one. Both the nature of the response measure

and the nature of the task have to be taken into consideration.











29

Affeet-stimili considered alone did net influence the subject's

performance on the tasks. When, however, the affeet-stimulus and the

nature of the task fer the separate measures were takb jointly into

ceaaideration, significant result below the 1 level of confidence were

obtained. In comparison with the influeme of neutral still on the

task, unpleasant stimuli, when the response measure as speed, tended

te hinder performiae;j pleasant stimuli tended to facilitate performance.

When the response measure was accuracy, both pleasant and unpleasant

stimuli tended to facilitate performance.

Task difficulty as investigated to determine if this was the

task property that interacted differentially with the affect to produce

differential results. Trends in the predicted direction were obtained,

but they failed to reach significanee.






























APPENDIXES









APPENDIX I


COMPARISON OF AVERAGE AFFECT RAWKIGS OF STnIULI BI JUDGES AND SUBJECTS.
SCAJ OF AFFECT RANWGJ FROM 1 FOR VERY PLEFLMT; THOUGH 3 FOR NEUTRALj
TO 5 FOR VERY IFNPLASANT.

Affeet Judge's Subject's Affeet Judge's Subject's
eWrd Bank Rank Word Rank Rank

1. Fun 1.80 1.24 39. Tree 3.00 2.92
2. Uestasy 1.60 1.10 40. Cable 3.00 2.89
3. Thrill 1.60 1.68 l1. Bavrlve 3.00 3.00
4. Favorite 1.80 1.88 42. Gibe 3.00 2.92
5. Luxury 1.50 1.71 43. Besh 3.00 2.99
6. Beautiful 1.4 1.39 14. Sinae 3.00 2.93
7. Popular 1.80 1.73 45. During 3.00 2.97
8. Delightful 1.80 1.45 16. Declare 3.00 2.88
9. Irresistible 1.80 2.23 47. Tapie 3.00 2.91
10. Pleasant 1.60 1.61 48. Circle 3.00 2.85
11. Party 1.80 1.81 49. Desen 3.00 2.92
12. Veluptuou 1.80 2.08 50. Saple 3.00 2.88
13. bealleat 1.80 1.55 51. Terent 4.20 4.31
14. Laughter 1.80 1.59 52. Quarrel 4.20 4.32
15. Nppy 1.20 1.51 53. Failure 4.60 4.51
16. Beliciows 1.60 1.63 54. Behead 4.20 4.47
17. HHwr 1.80 1.75 55. Slander 4.ao 4.1
18. oGreaul 1.80 1.77 56. Fear 4.IO 4.30
19. Best 1.60 1.93 57. Unhappy 4.80 4.39
20. Swee 1.40 1.45 58. Violate 4.20 3.78
21. Friendly 1.80 1.i9 59. Murder 14.0 4.53
22. Spledid 1.80 1.61 60. Shame 4.60 4.19
23. fuprb 1.60 1.55. 61. Angry 140 4.05
24. Smile 1.80 1.68 62. Kill 4.0 4.29
25. Jelly 1.60 1.69 63. Argue 14.0 3.97
26. Varies 3.00 2.57 6k. Sueide 4.o 4.51
27. sert 3.00 2.92 65. Mutilate 44.o 4.51
28. Tjp 3.00 2.77 66. Molest 4.30 4.23
29. Number 3.00 2.97 67. uly 4.20 4.13
30. Garpwt 3.00 2.83 68. Supid 4.20 4.19
31. Bmame 3.00 2.97 69. Hate 4.60 4.51
32. Term 3.00 3.14 70. Lanely 40 4.28
33. Wagen 3.00 2.88 71. Blood 4.20 3.52
3-. Assemble 3.00 2.73 72. Diagr m 4U.0 .439
35. While 3.00 3.00 73. Freak 4.O 3.93
36. Riddle 3.00 2.96 74. Deop-e 4.80 4,27
37. Similar 3.00 2.81 75. 'Maseere 4.20 4.47
38. Material 3.00 2.95










APPENDIX II


STIMULUS MATERIAL:


QUARREL
ZXJ
CXJ
XJF

BEHEAD
PJZ
FQJ
GZK

FEAR
JHQ
ZKG
XJQ

VIOLATE
JGP
KXB
FJH

MASSACRE
MZC
DJQ
MGQ

ANGRY
RCJ
BFM
QJH

ARGUE
Zbi
JCF
ZQJ

SUICIDE
RBM
GQC
FBM

UGLY
JSB
TZH
NPB


DECLARE
ZXJ
CXJ
XJF

TOPIC
PJZ
FQJ
GZK

DURING
JHQ
ZKG
XJQ

REVOLVE
JGP
KIB
FJH

WHILE
MZC
DJQ
MGQ

SAMPLE
RCJ
BFM
QJH

TRACE
ZMF
JCF
ZQJ

CIRCLE
RBM
GQC
FEM

SIMILAR
JSB
TZH
NPB


EXPERIMENTAL TASKS PRECEDED BY AFFECT-WORDS


POPULAR FAILURE ASSEMBLE SUCC
ZXJ S~ SGI 3G0
CXJ XZL XZL XZL
XJF GXJ GXJ GXJ

LAUGHTER SIAllDER WAGON FAVI
PJZ QHX QHX QHX
FQJ BJH BJH BJH
GZK GQH CQH CQH

IRRESISTIBLE UNHAPPY SDICE SPI2
JHQ CSF CSF CSF
ZKG KXZ KXZ KXZ
XJQ CGJ CGJ CGJ

PARTY MURDER TERM SUPER
JGP BJS BJS BJS
KXB QZM QZM QZM
FJH GIC 0ox GXC

SimLE SH BENCH BEAU
ZC QXH QXH QXH
DJQ XKB YXi XKB
MGQ KMH KMH KMH

FU, KILL VARIOUS ECS1
RJG GI GKI GKl
BFM HFC HFC HFC
QJ XZG x XZG

LUXURY MUTIIATE DOZEN BES1
ZMF SFM SFM SFM
JCF DJX DJX DJX
ZQJ ZBJ ZBJ ZBJ

HAPPY MOLEST SORT EXCE
RBM TJH TJH TJH
GQC BQJ BQJ BQJ
FBM CFP CFP CFP

GRACEFUL STUPID MATERIAL HUMO
JSB FHJ FHJ FHJ
TZH ZJF ZJF ZJF
NPB XOD XQD XOD


:ESS




)RITE




;NDID




RB




JTIFUL




ASY









;LLENT




)R












ILTE
QFZ
ZGQ
QJF

BWDOD

JZH
JM

num
K.K
NQX
XCz

TOU"T
XJS
LJI
TSK


IDNEZL
FHJ
ZJF
ZQD

DISOSiCE
ZHL
FJC
LJS

DESPISE
DJZ
XFQ
XZB


DELICIOUS
FHJ
ZJF
XQD

PLEASANT
ZHL
FJC
LJS

JOLLY
DJZ
XFQ
XZB


CUBE
QFZ
ZGQ
QJF

VIOMBER
PXJ
JZH
HFM

CARPET





XJ5
LJz
TEI


DELIGHTFUL
QFZ
ZoQ
QJF

FRIENDLY
PXJ
JZH
HFM

TWILL
KHF
NQK
XCZ

VOLUPTUOUS
XIJS
LJIx
TEI


BECAUSE
FHJ
ZJF
XQD


ZHL
FJC
LJS

TYPE
DJZ
X Q
XZB













V)
w
CD
I-
-J
> J
-.
In
O LL
0 D


o L


0
1<



O
W -- or)



ro










,(-
0


^ <1 <-
_iQ
co l Li








Ist GANG





AC>-











2nd GANG







/

RELAY OF \
VOICE KEY\.


z TAPE TRANSPORT



5

AC







TO PROJECTOR






-- - 2v BATTERY


IPPbDIX IT
DIAGRAM OF WIRING
35


OF SWITCH









BIBLIOGRAPHY


1. Combs, A. F. Intelligence from a perceptual point of view.
J. abnorm. sec. Psychol., 1952, h7, 662-673.

2. Duffy, Elizabeth. The psychological significance of the concept
of "arousal" or "activation." Psychol. Rev., 1957, 64, 265-275.

3. Hull, C. L., and Lugoff, L. S. Complex signs in diagnostic free
association. J. exp. Psychol., 1921, 4, 111-136.

4. Jenkin, N. Affective processes in perception. Psychol. Bull.,
1957, 5i, 100-127.

5. Jung, C. G. Studies in word-association. London: William
Heineman, 1918.

6. Lazarus, R. S., Deese, J., and Osler, Sonia F. The effects of
psychological stress upon performance. Psychol. Bull., 1952,
69, 293-317.

7. McGinnies, E. Generalization of perceptual defense. J. abnorm.
soc. Psychol., 1952, 47, 81-85.

8. Postman, L., and 5chneider, B. H. Personal values, visual recogni-
tion and recall. Psychol. Rev., 1951, 58, 271-284.

9. Rapaport, D. Dignostic psychological testing. Vol. 2. Chicago:
Year Book Publishers, 196

10. Sanford, R. N. The effects of abstinence from food upon imaginal
processes. J. Psychol., 1936, 2, 129-136.

11. Soper, D. A study of changes in the perceptual field in responses
to the perception of pleasant and unpleasant stimuli. Un-
published doctoral dissertation, Syracuse Univ., 1952.

12. Thorndike, E. L. The teachers word book. New York: Teachers
College, Columbia Univ., 1921.

13. Witmer, L. R. The association value of three-place consonant
syllables. J. genet. Psychol., 1935, 47, 337-359.













VITA

Reran Ivan Levin was born in PenCmeola Florida, on April 23,

1932. RB attended the public schools aC Penscola and graduated from

PM elaal High School in Jae, 1949. In September of that yer he

wter1a d eary Unifverity. Two years later h transferred to lasiana

8tate Universityr, a in Jume, 1953, kh rewlwed his Baehlar of Arts

degre froa this university. In Septalbr, 1953, he matriewlated at

Teachers Collge, Celumbia University and reeivd his Master of Arts

degree in Jue, 195I. In September, 1955, he entered the [uiversitt

at Flerida. There he has remained; emept that ring the last year he

has bean in the Veterans Aminia tratie clLnical psye.ology training

proem' at ulfport, Missisippi.









This dissertation was prepared under the direction of the chairman
of the candidate's supervisory committee and has been approved by all
members of the committee. It was submitted to the Dean of the College of
Arts and Sciences and to the Graduate Council and was approved as partial
fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

August 9, 1958



Dean, College of Arts and Sciences



Dean, Graduate School

SUPERVISORY COMMITTEE:



Chairman


/ /c111/bL
L 'K /7^ f


,1K2 -$,.kb -1)..




University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs