ERIC Number: ED192340
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1980-Feb
Reference Count: N/A
Understanding Instructions with Complex Conditions. Technical Report No. 5.
Holland, V. Melissa; Rose, Andrew M.
Forty adults served as subjects in a study of the comprehensibility of instructions conditioned by multicategory compounds, such as "If you are male, or both married and not employed, go to question 3." The stimulus materials were 96 sentence frames of the form, "If you are X, press (button) Y," in which "X" was replaced by coordinate compounds generated by different combinations of five factors: (1) number of categories in the antecedent statement, (2) organization of categories, (3) "and" versus "or," (4) presence or absence of negation, and (5) organizational subtypes. In individual sessions, subjects responded to all 96 instructions, presented one at a time on a computer display terminal. Analyses of subjects' response time and accuracy yielded a number of results, including that the pattern of results, for both speed and accuracy, was primarily of the interactive type and that each of the major sentence dimensions appeared to contribute to overall sentence difficulty. The results have both theoretical and practical implications and lend support to the premise that complex instructions should be experimentally evaluated prior to inclusion in a public document. (GT)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: American Institutes for Research, Washington, DC.; Siegel & Gale, Inc., New York, NY.; Carnegie-Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh, PA.