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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Investigation of the effectiveness of the laboratory experience in promoting self-actualization Vick, Judy Diana


The objective of this study was to assess the effectiveness of laboratory training in promoting self-actualization in fourth and fifth year Education students at the University of British Columbia. The experimental group was drawn from Education 435 the Guidance control group from Education 404, 426, 427, and the Mathematics control group from Education 499. A stratified randomization procedure was used to assign all subjects within intact classes to pretest and posttest or posttest only conditions. The experimental group met twice weekly for two hour sessions over three months. Dr. E. Fiedler led the group in a program that stressed experiential learning to improve personal and interpersonal growth in communication, feelings, openness and awareness. His methods were those of an instrumented human relations laboratory where data supplied were members' behaviors as they participated in various exercises and skill training sessions. The control groups were Education classes with the purpose of learning techniques and methods for presenting material to high school students. The Personal Orientation Inventory (POl) was used as a criterion measure and was administered to half the entire group of subjects at the beginning of January, 1971 while the entire group was tested at the end of March, 1971. The results of this study indicated that there was no support for the hypothesis that the Laboratory group Is effective in promoting self-actualization in university students as measured by the POI subscales. There were significant differences in the ANOVA of posttest scores for Inner Direction, Feeling Reactivity and Spontaneity but these effects were removed by the ANCOVA analysis. The substantially lower Mathematics group means seem to account for the significant treatment effect for these three variables. There was a testing effect for Time Competence, Inner Direction, Existentiality, Self-Acceptance and Capacity for Intimate Contact. The groups who took the pretest scored significantly higher on these variables than those who took only the posttest. There were several limitations to the study the first was the sampling procedure. Intact classes were used rather than volunteer subjects. This presented two problems. Some of the subjects in the Mathematics group were uncooperative. And the Mathematics group represented a population dissimilar to both the Guidance and Laboratory group as was revealed by the lower group means of the Mathematics group. Second, there were limitations in the criterion measure. Since several items appear in more than one subscale, the subscales of the POI are not independent and therefore are highly correlated. This makes the process of generalizing from the findings difficult if not questionable. Third, the definition of self-actualization as described by Shostrom and measured by the POI is only one way of examining this construct. And finally with different sampling procedures and criterion measures the laboratory experience still may not have had an effect because of Insufficient intensity or duration. In future research it would seem advisable to assign subjects to experimental and control groups randomly from a large initial sample of volunteers requesting the same type of experience.

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