Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Richard W. Nicholson


Since the recent emergence of conformity research, few investigations have attempted to relate judgmental shifts to both relevant personality dimensions and different psychological situations, i.e., physical and social reality. The E studied the effects of need-for approval, internal versus external locus of reinforcement, pressure,and physical versus social reality on judgmental shifts. A completely crossed-factorial design with two levels of each factor was used. The criterion was the mean number of judgmental shifts, with the latter being defined as a shift in judgment from an initial position about a stimulus object to an alternative position. The Ss were 160 female introductory psychology students. Experimental groups (n=5) were tested via a modified Crutch‐Field apparatus in the presence of the E. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of four treatment conditions: physical reality-high pressure; physical reality-low pressure; social reality-high pressure; and social reality-low pressure. The physical reality task necessitated a judgment as to the larger of two clusters of dots on each of nine trials. The task of social reality required a judgment on each of nine trials as to whether or not pictures of men, some having been described as convicted murderers, were infact convicted murderers. High pressure was defined as the apparent disagreement of three and agreement of one member about a judgment, or disagreement by all four members of the group. Low pressure was composed of three agreeing and one disagreeing member of the group or four agreements. Analysis of variance revealed that I-E and pressure were significant main effects. Analysis of simple main effects showed that pressure was significant for both reality levels, need-for-approval was significant for I-E, and that I-E was significant for high need-for-approval JBs, and social reality. The major findings were: 1. Low need-for-approval Ss do not differ in number of judgmental shifts in either reality. 2. High and low need-for-approval Ss do not differ inmean number of judgmental shifts in physical reality when exposed to high pressure. 3. Social reality does not seem to create a difference between high and low need-for-approval Ss in judgmental shifts under a condition of high pressure. 4. No distinction between the psychological relevance of social and physical reality was found for high need-for-approval Ss. The investigator concluded that further research is needed to find personality correlates of judgmental shifting behavior, and that there should be more work done in an attempt to delineate the dimension called "social reality".


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Psychology and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Omaha In Partial Fulfillmentof the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts. Copyright Melvin Ronald Blonsky August, 1967