First Advisor

Ronald Smith

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology






Measure of ambiguity tolerance, Ambiguity, Personality assessment



Physical Description

1 online resource, digitized manuscript.


An historical introduction is made tying authoritarianism with ambiguity tolerance. Ambiguity tolerance is a personality variable in its own right, often associated with authoritarianism yet remaining separate from it.

Ambiguity intolerance is defined as the tendency to perceive and interpret information that is marked by vague, fragmented, incomplete, inconsistent, contradictory, or unclear meaning as actual or potential sources of psychological threat. Ambiguity tolerance is defined as the tendency to perceive ambiguous situations as challenging and desirable.

Efforts to measure ambiguity tolerance have met with varied success, however, it was not until Norton (197S) developed the Measurement of Ambiguity Tolerance (MAT-50) that accurate measurement became a possibility. The present study presents data that provides some construct validity to the MAT-SO.

College students were administered the MAT-SO and divided into two groups: tolerants and intolerants. It was hypothesized that individuals who were in the intolerant group would produce more anxiety (as measured by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory) when presented with an ambiguous situation (the Rorschach inkblot test) than individuals in the tolerant group. The hypothesis was confirmed, individuals in the intolerant group displayed more state as well as trait anxiety than those in the tolerant group. Recommendations are made suggesting that future research use subjects from a less homogenous group.


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