Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Document Type


Date of this Version



Thesis (M.A.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1949. Department of Educational Psychology and Measurements.


Copyright 1949, the author. Used by permission.


It is increasingly evident that the ultimate goal of each individual is social competence and that helping people to attain that goal is the purpose of schools and other societal agencies. For many years educators have recognized that in order to develop social competence one must understand as well as possible the individual to be developed. Adequate understanding of children and adults requires a wide variety of means to study personality.

This exploratory study is designed to suggest a possible method of determining how a person reacts to other people and to set the stage for later researches to determine the meaning of such responses.

More specifically, the purpose of this study was:

  1. to set up a method by which a written description of people in a real-life situation could be scored according to the positive and negative verbal responses made.

  2. to determine the relationship of predominantly positive or negative responses in one situation to positive or negative responses in another situation.

  3. to discover how a group of freshman in the Teachers College describe those people they see in a real-life situation, and

  4. to suggest a possible method of measurement that might be useful in the selection of people for teacher training.

The subjects, selected from the freshmen class in the Teachers College at the University of Nebraska, were registered for the required orientation course, Education 30, in the fall term of the academic year, 1948-1949.

The Education 30 course is concerned with (1) What is teaching? (2) Who makes a good teacher? (3) Will I (referring to the student) make a good teacher? During the course emphasis was placed upon the necessity of the teacher liking and attempting to understand people.

There were 299 students enrolled in Education 30. One class did not participate in the observation experience. The observations of another class could not be found. Six people listed in the Education 30 classes used in this research had either dropped the course or had failed to turn in papers. This limited the study to 223 available subjects. Three of the available cases were rejected for the following reasons: It was determined that one paper was copied; another subject went to a different department store than the one assigned; and another paper was incomplete. Thus this study includes 220 subjects. There is a possibility that the group used may be a select group; however, outside of the six who dropped or failed to turn in a paper the writer could find no factors of selectivity that took place in selecting the 220 subjects for this study out of the 299 Teachers College Freshmen that were in Education 30 classes. The group was made up of eighty-three boys and 137 girls.

The instructors were asked to assign the students to go to Gold’s Department Store and to observe people for one business hour and write a report. The reported observations give no indication that the experience was structured any further by the instructor.

After the data had been collected the writer and another graduate student spent a considerable amount of time determining the manner in which the material would be analyzed. It was decided that the papers would be analyzed for positive and negative responses. A perusal of the papers suggested that a considerable number of valence responses had been made and that positive and negative responses could possibly be the basis for distinguishing between individuals.

Advisor: William Edward Hall