1999-2000 Erlbaum Winners' Abstracts
Affective Expectations and Information Gain: Evidence for Assimilation and Contrast Effects in Affective Experience
Andrew L. Geers
Faculty Sponsor: G. Daniel Lassiter, PhD
According to the Affective Expectation Model (Wilson et al., 1989), affect is formed with reference to a prior expectation. The model predicts that people's affective reactions to a stimulus are generally assimilated to a prior expectation, except in cases when a discrepancy between the affective expectation and the actual stimulus information exists and is noticed. In such cases, affective reactions are expected to be contrasted away from affective expectations. In the present study, both the assimilation and contrast predictions were tested using the unitization paradigm (Newston, 1973). We predicted that observers who unitized a not-so-funny film clip at a gross level (thereby extracting a relatively small amount of stimulus information) would assimilate their affective reactions to a prior positive expectation, whereas those who unitized the film clip at a fine level (thereby extracting a relatively large amount of stimulus information) would contrast their affective reactions with the positive expectation. The results supported these predictions thereby providing the first evidence that affective expectations can produce both assimilation and contrast effects in affective experience.
Memory and Story Medium: Does Presentation Mode Affect Children's Memories?
Brian M. Judd
Faculty Sponsor: John Davis, PhD
Does the medium through which children hear information affect their memories for content? Past research has yielded mixed results. The current study compares 3 storytelling mediums: television, audiotape, and live oral presentation, to determine how well children retain information presented by each. Intuition suggests that children do not learn as well from television as they do from traditional storytelling methods. To test this hypothesis, 6 different 3rd-grade classes from 4 Catholic schools participated in this study. The classes were assigned to hear a story through 1 of the 3 mediums, thus allowing 2 classes per presentation style. The children's memory for the content was tested using a 15-item questionnaire. The participants were tested again 1 week later on the same material. The results showed no significant difference between group test scores on either test or within the groups and their scores on the 2 different tests. The results are discussed in terms of their implications.