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Brunswikian research at the University of Connecticut

Jim Holzworth
Storrs, Connecticut

Research in the Brunswikian tradition continues at the University of Connecticut. My colleagues Steven Mellor and Jim Conway and I have just completed data collection in a judgment study investigating people's inclinations to be represented by labor unions. Employed persons (not union members) were asked to make judgments concerning how likely they would be to vote in favor of (or against) union representation. Data analyses will test a weighted decision model based on the relative importance of costs and benefits of union representation. Design details of this study were presented in last year's newsletter. In another union-related judgment study, Mellor, Dan O'Shea and I have begun investigating judgments concerning crossing a picket line. We are in the design phase of this study.

Studies testing premises of Cognitive Continuum Theory (CCT) are in various stages. Some of the design details were mentioned in last year's newsletter. These studies are experiments designed to determine: (1) if different cognitive tasks induce study participants to employ different modes of cognition, (2) if participants oscillate along the continuum between analysis and intuition, and (3) if participants sometimes alternate between pattern recognition and use of functional relations. Within-subject designs are employed. In an aesthetic judgment study, 24 participants viewed different styles of art (representational and nonrepresentational), "thinking aloud" while viewing each painting. After rating each painting, participants were asked to justify their responses. Julia Pavone (fine arts) is assisting me with this project. We are in the data analysis stage. Along with Janet Barnes-Farrell, I am continuing my research on worker performance appraisal. Our study has participants viewing work samples of restaurant waitresses presented in several ways (videotapes, written transcripts, and summary data). Each participant evaluates overall performance of the waitress and gives oral justification. Data collection is under way. A chromosome classification study is finally getting off the ground. My colleague Judy Brown and I have 200 photo images of human chromosomes (all 23 pairs), 100 of each sex. Study participants will be asked to sort some number of these images into two sets (male/female) based on presence of a Y chromosome. Participants will "think aloud' while sorting. In each experiment, verbal protocol analysis of "think aloud," justification, and evaluation data will be done to test premises of CCT.

Tom Stewart and I are looking for judgment data sets which include criterion information for further testing of my smart ridge regression technique (combining human judgment with ridge regression; OBHDP, December, 1996). Anyone willing to share data may be richly rewarded. I hope to have an opportunity to discuss some of my research at our Brunswik Meeting in November.

Contact Jim Holzworth

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