Studies in Personnel and Industrial Psychology

By Edwin A. Fleishman | Go to book overview

Experiment I indicates that the find and learn methods will discover the same important confusions, although the fine structure of the confusion matrices may differ somewhat. Neither method is completely satisfactory. The results of the find method, which has been used by other investigators, depend on Ss familiarity with the set of stimuli. The S makes very few errors when he knows the stimulus alternatives, so the find method does not clearly show differences in the degree of perceptual confusion. The learning method provides a distribution with a greater range, but random guesses cannot be distinguished from specific confusions.


Summary

The three experiments are reported concerning the tactual identification of 16 differently shaped lever-switch handles. In Experiment I, two methods for measuring confusability were compared: the find method, in which S searched through a set of 16 handles to find a particular handle, and the learn method, in which S learned to associate a number with each of the 16 handles. The methods agreed moderately but not perfectly in specifying the predominant confusions and in measuring their extent. Significantly fewer errors were made in the find method by Ss who had first been tested on the learn method, indicating that familiarity with the stimuli is an important factor.

Experiment II showed that a set of 16 small handles (¼-in. diameter), was learned as quickly as a corresponding set of large handles (⅜-in. diameter), and that Ss transferred from one size to the other with few errors.

Two subsets of ten handles were selected in such a way that most of the prediminant confusions were avoided. In Experiment III these subsets were tested by the learn method and found to be more homogeneous than the present set of 16 handles. Each subset was learned quickly. When Ss first saw the handles they had previously learned tactually, they could identify the handles with very few errors.

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