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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Selection strategies and performance on attribute identification task as a function of time- and accuracy-stressed instructions and level of motivation Wasilewski, Bohdan Kazimierz

Abstract

36 Ss randomly selected from 76 volunteers from Grade-XII Richmond Secondary School were randomly assigned to six treatments in a 3 x 2 factorial design to test the effect of instructions (time-stressed, accuracy- stressed, or control) and level of motivation (high or low) on performance on three problems of a predetermined, conjunctive, attribute identification task, with stimuli (64 six-dimensional figures) containing the exemplars and non-exemplars of a bi-dimensional concept, and presented simultaneously; and measured in the postulated three phases by: time interval between reception of the task and selection of the first card (Phase 1 - analysis of the problem); index of dimensional change of attributes from the first exemplar (Phase 2 - selection or development of a strategy-plan); and average time per card choice (Phase 3 - execution of a strategy-plan). Two additional measures, number of cards to solution and total time to solution, were observed in order to confirm the successful manipulation of the instructional variable in terms of its behavioral effects. The results suggest that the manipulation of instructional variable was successful. The results indicate that Ss under accuracy-stressed condition took significantly more time during the time interval (Phase 1) and spent significantly more time per card choice (Phase 3), than Ss without instructional treatment (control); and that Ss under time-stressed condition behaved in Phase 1 and 3 in the very same way as Ss without instructional treatment (control). It was observed that Ss under time-stressed condition spent about the same amount of total time to solution as Ss under accuracy-stressed condition, and since Ss under time-stressed condition spent significantly less time per card choice than Ss under accuracy-stressed condition, then these facts indicate that the accuracy-stressed instructions are responsible for the better performance of Ss under accuracy-stressed condition than Ss under time-stressed condition. This suggests that knowledge of the reason for ignoring the time and emphasis on accuracy may induce Ss to take time to analyze the problem and that this opportunity to follow the postulated logical sequence of behavior may improve execution (i.e., performance) on conceptual task. The results failed to confirm third hypothesis that motivation impairs performance under time-stressed condition and improves performance under accuracy- stressed condition. It was observed during the experiment that Ss shifted the focus card from the first exemplar to other positive instances previously identified, and since the focus card used by Ss can not be identified, the index of dimensional change can not be used as an indicator of the strategy-selection behavior in Phase 2.

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