ERIC Number: ED226380
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-May
Reference Count: 0
The Effects of Imagery, Negativity and Ambiguity on Syllogism Difficulty.
An experiment was designed to test the hypothesis that abstract materials increase accuracy in solving categorical syllogisms. In an attempt to encourage subjects to reason their way through the problems rather than to make judgments about the truth or desirability of the proffered conclusions, the premises were composed of familiar words in strange combinations. Imagery/concreteness ratings were therefore based on the premise nouns, not on the premises considered as sentences. The syllogisms were designed to cover extreme and moderate levels of concreteness and ambiguity, and to include both negative and completely positive problems. Subjects included 150 undergraduate students enrolled in a university public speaking course. Students were given a booklet that contained the same 18 categorical syllogisms, ordered randomly, and were told that their task was to choose one from a list of possible valid conclusions. The results, when compared with the results from three earlier studies, showed that (1) accuracy dropped as imagery increased for high ambiguity positives, with the opposite effect occurring for low ambiguity negatives; (2) negative syllogisms were harder to solve for all low and medium ambiguity syllogisms, with the opposite effect for high ambiguity problems; and (3) accuracy dropped as ambiguity increased for positive syllogisms and was not as clearly supported for negative problems. (HOD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association (Boston, MA, May 2-5, 1982).