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Thesis (M.A.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1950. Department of Psychology.


Copyright 1950, the author. Used by permission.


This study was designed to determine reliabilities of tests of rigidity and to increase these. Toward this end two preliminary studies were conducted.A number of tests were scored for creative effort by the ratio X/Y where X is the score for a familiar task and Y is the score for a similar but unfamiliar task.By using the inverse of this ratio, Y/X, the reliability of several of the tests was increased.A ratio of the time required to write a word first forward, then backward, was more reliable than a ratio of the number of words written first forward for a given period of time, then backward for the same time.

A battery of tests was given to 89 high school senior boys and girls. Tests which had a reliability of .45 or above were included in a factor analysis study.Three factors were computed by the centroid method.After rotation, Factor A seemed to represent an ability to shift from one response to another or to change from one “set” to another.Factor B represented a speed of reaction, more specifically, a speed of performing an unfamiliar task.Eventually this factor may subdivide into a speed of perception and speed of motor performance.Factor C was specific to Writing Words tests. It may represent the ability to reverse a normal motor response.

Two aspects of rigidity as determined by this study are the speed of reaction of the individual and the ability to change from one set to another.

A factor representing an ability to change set found in tests based on the creative effort principle adds to the feasibility of employing mental act phenomena for the study of rigidity.

Advisor: Don W. Dysinger