Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in Psychology


The effects of congruency, target percentage and target location on judgments of relative frequency were examined. A stimulus consisted of a set of 24 words ("ABOVE"/"BELOW") with asterisks located either on top or underneath the words. The stimulus sets were presented on a computer monitor for 1.50 seconds. Subjects had to judge the frequency of their target (asterisks-above or asterisks-below) at the end of each trial. Forty-eight of the trials were 100% congruent (word and asterisk location with relation to the word indicated same location) and 48 of the trials were 50% congruent and 50% non-congruent. The results indicated that target percentage had a significant effect on judgments of relative frequency. Absolute error appeared higher in the 58.33% and 66.67% conditions for the initial 48 trials. When all 96 trials were analyzed, absolute error appeared higher in the middle range of target percentage (41.67% and 58.33%). In the first 48 trials a significant interaction between congruency and target location was found. Standard deviation of absolute error seemed higher for asterisk-below subjects under 50% congruent condition but the reverse was true under 100% congruent condition. A main effect of target percentage was also found. Subjects tended to overestimate the actual percentage of their assigned target if the actual percentage was less than 50%. Underestimation was apparent when the actual percentage of the target was over 50% and appeared to be a steady decrease in mean error from the 33.33% to the 66.67% target percentages. A significant interaction between target percentage and target location showed a wider range of mean error for asterisk-below subjects. Estimates were fairly close for subjects regardless of their assigned targets at the 33.33% and 41.67% conditions. Asterisk-below subjects, however tended to underestimate more than asterisk-above subjects under the 58.33% and 66.67% conditions. Similar results were found when the initial 48 trials were analyzed. For the initial 48 trials, a significant interaction between congruency and target location was found. Standard deviation of mean error was higher for asterisks-below subjects under 50% congruence, but higher for asterisks-above subjects under 100% congruence. Results appear to indicate that frequency judgments are more time independent than the Stroop effect.


Memory, Human information processing, Word recognition, Language and languages Word frequency

Rights Statement

Copyright 1991, author