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Autokinetic Paradigms: A Reply to Alexander, Zucker and Brody

Nicholas P. Pollis, Robert L. Montgomery and Thomas G. Smith
Sociometry
Vol. 38, No. 3 (Sep., 1975), pp. 358-373
DOI: 10.2307/2786170
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2786170
Page Count: 16
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Autokinetic Paradigms: A Reply to Alexander, Zucker and Brody
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Abstract

A recent paper by Alexander, Zucker and Brody (1970) reported findings contrary to Sherif's (1935) original results and the results of many subsequent replications. The basic assumption that there is a tendency to pattern experience was questioned as well as related assumptions underlying balance and congruence theories. Sherif's findings were thought to be the result of experimental expectancies rather than a function of the tendency to structure ambiguous stimuli. The present investigation paralleled both the Sherif and the Alexander et al. studies and utilized a third condition where subjects are disabused of expectancies of convergence and decreasing variability as well as expectancies of divergence and increasing variability. In both alone and together situations, results were divergent with the findings of Alexander et al., paralleled Sherif's original findings, and demostrated convergence and decreasing variability in the new experimental condition. These results, and the fact that variability and size of estimates were greatest in the Sherif condition, provide evidence that convergence and reduction of variability are a function of the tendency to structure ambiguous situations rather than the result of experimental expectancies of stability and order.

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