Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Preliminary Validation of the Spanish Version of the Multiple Stimulus Types Ambiguity Tolerance Scale (MSTAT-II)

Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Preliminary Validation of the Spanish Version of the Multiple Stimulus Types Ambiguity Tolerance Scale (MSTAT-II)

Article excerpt

Despite widespread interest in ambiguity tolerance and other informationrelated individual differences, existing measures are conceptually dispersed and psychometrically weak. This paper presents the Spanish version of MSTAT-II, a short, stimulus-oriented, and psychometrically improved measure of an individual's orientation toward ambiguous stimuli. Results obtained reveal adequate reliability, validity, and temporal stability. These results support the use of MSTAT-II as an adequate measure of ambiguity tolerance.

Keywords: ambiguity tolerance, organizational behavior, decision making, uncertainty.

A pesar del amplio interés en la tolerancia a la ambigüedad y a otras diferencias individuales relacionadas con la información, las medidas existentes son conceptualmente dispersas y presentan deficiencias psicométricas. El propósito de este trabajo es presentar la versión española del MSTAT II, un instrumento de medida de las orientaciones de un individuo respecto a estímulos ambiguos con mejoras psicométricas sustanciales, independiente del contexto y suficientemente corto para ser utilizado junto con otras medidas. Los resultados obtenidos en cuanto a consistencia interna, estabilidad temporal y validez son satisfactorios. Estos resultados apoyan el uso del MSTAT-II en su versión española como una medida adecuada de tolerancia a la ambigüedad.

Palabras clave: tolerancia a la ambigüedad, comportamiento organizacional, toma de decisiones, incertidumbre.

The concept of ambiguity (in)tolerance or its equivalents has attracted researchers' attention since its formal origins in the work of Frenkel-Brunswik (1948) around the end of the 1940s. This author is acknowledged as the first to conceptualize the trait called intolerance of ambiguity in her work published in the American Psychologist. In subsequent works (Frenkel-Brunswik, 1949, 1974), she describes the behavioral characteristics associated with ambiguity tolerance (AT) such as resistance to apparently changing stimuli, premature selection of a single solution in an ambiguous problem and reluctance to change it, inability to consider the possibility of positive and negative traits in the same person, acceptance of "black or white" ideas about life, seeking certainty, a tendency to use rigid classification categories, etc. (Furnham, 1994).

In view of the predictive potential of the construct, various authors followed Frenkel-Brunswik's conceptual definition of AT (e.g., Bhushan & Amal, 1986; Budner, 1962; Kischkel, 1984; MacDonald, 1970; Rydell & Rosen, 1966) in order to develop instruments to measure it. These measures evolved from a very strong initial emphasis on psychosocial relations, such as authoritarianism or ethnocentrism, going on to a broader conceptualization that led to the study of AT as an individual's orientation towards the characteristics of a stimulus (Furnham & Ribchester, 1995).

However, despite the continued interest in AT at that time, the reliability and validity of the most frequently used measures is poor (Furnham, 1994; Kenny & Ginsberg, 1958; Kirton, 1981; Lange & Houran, 1999; Norton, 1975; Ray, 1988). If such information appears at all, internal consistency values below .60 are common in the works published. Some of these measures lack a theoretical structure that is consistent with the information theory, especially with regard to the nature of ambiguity and information (see Furnham & Ribchester, 1995).

In this work, we present the preliminary adaptation to Spanish of a measure of ambiguity tolerance, the Multiple Stimulus Types Ambiguity Tolerance Scale (MSTAT-II; McLain, 2008), whose goal is to measure an individual's cognitive orientation towards various types of ambiguous stimuli, using a questionnaire that is short enough to avoid fatigue when used concurrently with other instruments, but which has acceptable levels of reliability and validity.


Ambiguity is the perception derived from a cognitive challenge caused by the lack of information or because such information is diffuse. …

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