Master's Theses

Date of Award

Fall 1984

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Robert Markley

Abstract

The study examined reversal frequencies of three ambiguous figures (the Necker cube, the Schroeder stairs, the Rubin vase) in seven viewing conditions. One hundred and fifty-eight undergraduates volunteers enrolled in general psychology classes were randomly assigned to each of the 7 conditions. The subjects passively viewed one figure for 3 minutes followed by a 3 minute rest, then viewed a second illusion for 3 minutes. The experimenter recorded the number of reversals verbally reported by the subjects. Three conditions were unmixed conditions, in that, the same illusion was viewed for each of the two trials. Condition I (N-N) consisted of viewing the Necker cube for both trials. Conditions II (S-S) consisted of viewing the Schroeder stairs for both trials and Condition III (R-R) consisted of viewing the Rubin vase for both trials. The last four conditions were mixed conditions, in that, a different illusion was viewed during each trial. Condition IV (R-R) consisted of viewing the Necker cube first followed by the Schroeder stairs. Condition V (S-N) consisted of viewing the Schroeder stairs first followed by the Necker cube. Condition VI (N-R) consisted of viewing the Necker cube first followed by the Rubin vase, while Condition VII (R-N) consisted of viewing the Rubin vase followed by the Necker cube. Demographic data and measures of spatial ability and curiosity were collected from each subject. There were no sex differences in the measures of curiosity or spatial ability and both types of measures did not correlate to reversals of ambiguous figures. The semantic ambiguous figure (Rubin vase) reversed more frequently than did the geometric ambiguous figures (Necker cube and Schroeder stair). The trends for reversals, both within and between trial, are best interpreted in the context of a learning theory explanation of reversibility, but due to mixed results (ascending as well as descending slopes) satiation theory (Kohler & Wallach, 1944) cannot be ruled out.

Rights

Copyright 1984 John Beer

Comments

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