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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A technique for the measurement of realism in social situations McEachern, Alexander William


It is suggested that it might be useful to develop techniques which are specifically designed to examine the social aspects of experimental situations, in light of the increased emphasis and recognition given social phenomena in psychology in recent years. For this purpose the author attempts to modify level of aspiration techniques for use in sociometric situations. Concern is mainly with the concept of realism, which is operationally defined, on the basis of previous studies of the level of aspiration, as "that function of personality revealed by a technique designed to measure a subject's ability to designate accurately his expected performance in an activity in which he has had some experience and consequently some criterion on which -to base his designation." The attempt to measure this defined function in social situations was undertaken in the following way: 1. Asking each individual in a group to choose other individuals on the basis of a specified criterion. 2. Asking each individual to give the names of those individuals he expects to have chosen him. The individual's realism is estimated in terms of the discrepancy between the obtained and expected choices on the basis of three factors which were logically determined; Factor A, discrepancy between number expected and obtained; Factor B, discrepancy between correct expected choices and obtained choices in terms of the actual names of the individuals involved; and Factor C, the discrepancy between the mean sociometric status of the individuals he expected to choose him, and the mean sociometric status of those who did choose him. The process of derivation of the total R score is summarized below: Factor A - expected – obtained/(N – 1) x 100 - can be either + or -. Ignore this 'direction' until the expression of the R score. - converted to sigma score in terms of the distribution of A within the group, by formula: A – M(a)/Sigma(a) = Z(a) Factor B – 1 - correct expected choices/obtained choices x 100 - convert to sigma score Z(b) Factor C – [M(exp.) – M(obt)] x 100 - can be either + or -. Ignore direction until R - convert to sigma Z(c.) R score is given by the formula: WaZa + WbZb + WcZc/Wa + Wb + Wc Where Wa, Wb, and Wc are the weights derived from the beta coefficients obtained from the inter-correlations of the factors. Ineluded in the expression of the final R score for an individual, are the directions in which he tends on Factors A and C. This technique was applied to three groups at different age levels (7-8yrs., 21-31yrs., 59-86yrs.,) for the purpose of determining whether or not it was possible to obtain distributions of R scores for each of the groups; that is, whether the function measured could discriminate between individuals. This purpose was fulfilled. Certain general indications are presented, having to do with the patterning of the positive and negative directions on Factors A and C, various sociometric relationships, and a few others. There is also presented empirical evidence which is interpreted as a partial justification for the logical assumption that the technique is measuring a realism function similar to that reported in aspiration studies. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed under these headings: "Technique," "Levels of Aspiration," and "Sociometry.”

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