Date of Award:

1965

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

Heber C. Sharp

Co-Advisor/Chair:

Walter Borg

Abstract

The phenomenon of not relying solely up on one's own judgment and of distorting one's perception toward a perceived social norm has been observed to take place with a rather large percentage of subjects participating in a number of research projects. Both Asch and Sherif have done extensive work showing this distortion of perception when an individual is placed in a group setting and finds himself in a contradictory position between his own perception and that of the other group members.

The question arises as to whether or not acceptance of suggestion is a personality trait characteristic of the individual. To what extent, if any, will the trait of suggestibility manifest in one situation transfer to a second setting when suggestion is applied? Specifically, in this research project, individuals will be chosen according to their reactions to a placebo pill experiment. Placebo reactors will be those individuals who have manifest the internalization of suggestion in the experiment. Non-reactors will be chosen for their lack of placebo pill reaction which will be considered as rejection of the applied suggestion. Both the placebo reactors and non-reactors will be placed in an unstable experimental situation that has the possibilities of being structured according to the individual's perception or perceived social norm. Since the autokinetic illusion is almost universal, this phenomenon will be employed in the experimental procedure. Suggestion as to the amount of movement present in the autokinetic effect will then be given. The amount of movement will be recorded and tested for significance for the reactor and non-reactor groups.

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