STRATEGIES OF BEHAVIOR IN AMBIGUITY SITUATION
Department of Psychology, Novosibirsk State
Institute of Cytology & Genetics, Laboratory of Evolutionary
genetics, Novosibirsk, Russia
The factor of ambiguity
is existing in most serious questions. There are a lot of
definitions of ambiguity situation. But in this work the factor
of ambiguity is determined as a lack of information. A person
can choose avoid or research strategy of behavior to cope
with ambiguity of situation. What kind of factors can have
effect on person for choosing of behavioral strategy in ambiguity
situation? Especially it is difficult to see endowment of
hereditary factors of a person. That is why it becomes actual
the using of genetic models of animals. Usually there are
3 positions in researching of behavioral strategies: behavioral
level, emotional and cognitive level. But unfortunately the
most of theoretical and empirical investigations view only
cognitive consequences of ambiguity situation. As for behavioral
effects, then it is consideration of activity and its moving
forces inside ambiguity situation.
The comparison of choice of behavioral strategies of man
and animals in ambiguity situation.
The object 1:
The endowment of factors (such as aggressiveness, anxiety
and temperament) in choice of strategy of behavior of a person
in ambiguity situation.
The object 2:
The endowment of factors (such as aggressiveness, anxiety)
in choice of behavior strategy of animals in ambiguity situation.
The object 3:
The comparison of endowment of investigated factors (aggressiveness,
anxiety) in choice of strategy of behavior of a person and
- to work
up experimental situation of ambiguity,
- to single
out behavioral factors, which can reflect different behavioral
- to find
personal features, which could be typical for different behavioral
- to interrelate
behavioral features and strategies of behavior using experimental
models of animals.
This work consists of 2 parts: biological
part and psychological part.
1. BIOLOGICAL PART
1.1.Materials and methods:
1.1.1. Genetic models of animals:
Adult gray male rats of 58th generation selected
for: (1) increase of aggressive reaction (aggressive rats);
(2) absence of aggressive reaction (tame rats).
1.1.2. Behavioral tests:
Behavior was analysed in test of open field (TOF) and light
dark box (LDT): horizontal locomotion ; vertical locomotion;
Animals were testing 2 times in TOF (on first and second day).
TOF was viewed as situation of novelty (ambiguity situation).
1.1.3. Data analysis:
Video and computer analysis of behavior: there was used computer
program, which was counting the latency, number, time and
medium of every behavioral variable.
Statistic analysis: ANOVA with Post-hoc analysis (independent
factor – genotype (aggressive and tame rats); dependent factor
– showings of moving activity), correlation analysis (Spearman).
1.2. The results:
Test of open field:
The analysis of horizontal and vertical activity has shown
that aggressive rats were more active in open field, but its
activity was directed to avoidance of novel situation. As
for tame rats, all its behavioral variable have shown investigative
strategy of behavior.
The light dark box:
Tame rats have shown low level of anxiety (the latency
of entry to dark part was higher than latency of aggressive
rats (p<0,01), time of being into dark part was less (p<0,05),
number of entries to dark part was less than aggressive rats
had (p<0,01)). Analysis of behavior into light part of
test has shown also that aggressive rats have high level of
anxiety in comparison with tame rats.
The correlation analysis of behavioral patterns in TOF and
LDT have shown reliable positive correlations: for example
the patterns (which have demonstrated avoidance behavior in
TOF) had shown reliable positive correlations with variables
in LDT(which have shown high level of anxiety of aggressive
2. PSYCHOLOGICAL PART
There were 2-4 year students from different faculties.
Age: 18 – 21. There were 15 males and 15 females, who were
participating in individual experiments (people who was attracted
by ambiguity of situation – situation of a lack of information).
2.1.Materials and methods:
2.1.1. The experiment “ambiguity
It was a room at the university, where experiment had to be.
A testing person didn’t know the type of experiment and its
target. A testing person only knew where experiment would
be and at what time it should be. A person came to that experimental
room, but experimenter arrived 15 minutes late. The duration
of each experiment was 15 minutes. The heart of experiment
was in these 15 minutes in experimentator absence. Pilot experiment
has shown that 15 minutes is enough for demonstration of behavioral
There was registration of such behavioral variables as move
activity, sitting, standing in experimental room and outside
(near experimental room - hall). Also it was registration
of other parameters (going-over, interaction with first camera,
individual actions). There were 2 cameras (1 – inside the
experimental room, 2 – outside, in hall). So it was possible
to record whole behavior of testing person during experimental
situation. First camera wasn’t invisible, but testing person
had to be more attentive to notice camera, which was inside
the experimental room.
(1) Buss-Durkey Inventory (it is aimed at measuring of aggressiveness
and hostility), (2) short version of MBTI – Kersy (temperament),
(3) Lüscher Farbwahl Test, (4) STAI (test of anxiety).
All tests have russian adaptation.
and computer analysis of behavior: there was used computer
program, which was counting the latency, number, time and
medium of every behavioral variable.
analysis: Mann-Whitney U test, Correlation analysis (Spearman).
The sex differences were not found in our experiment.
Buss-Durkey Inventory and behavioral
activity: Spearman correlation
There was found positive correlation between hostility
index and general time of being outside, in hall (r=0,48,
Also it was positive correlation of hostility with time (r=0,43,
p=0,008) and number of move activity (r=0,43, p=0,02). And
positive correlation was found between: hostility index and
number of stops (r=0,57, p=0,001), hostility and time of standing
(r=0,61, p=0,0003). Such often changing of position can show
the problem of place finding.
The scale of jealousy (the component of hostility index) had
positive correlation with the same behavioral variables as
hostility index, and it was negative correlation with general
time of being in the experimental room (r= - 0,38, p=0,04)
and number of stops in the room (r= - 0,37, p=0,04).
As for index of aggressiveness, it wasn’t found reliable correlation
with behavioral variables.
It wasn’t found any reliable information about
correlations in our experiment. It can depend on little sample.
STAI (test of anxiety) and behavioral
We have got positive correlation between: level
of personal anxiety (PA) and number of movements in the hall
(r=0,37, p=0,04), PA and time of standing in the hall (r=0,41,
p=0,02), PA and mean time of standing in the hall (r=0,42,
p=0,02). IT was found negative correlation between: PA and
time of sitting in the experimental room (r= - 0,38, p=0,04),
PA and number of times when person sit down on the chair in
the experimental room (r= - 0,50, p=0,006).
Lüscher Farbwahl Test:
This test we used two times: 1 – after experiment,
2 – after testing procedure. There wasn’t found any reliable
differences between first and second testing. It can tell
that experimental situation had so strong effect on person,
that it was lack of enough time for changing situation. Or
it can tell than situation wasn’t so strong for changing of
attitude to situation after testing. May be it is better to
think about second variant of explanation, because the mean
level of reactive stress (STAI) was very low.
Thus, we have picked out two groups (Mann-Whitney U test):
(1) testing people with high hostility index and high level
of personal anxiety, (2) people with low hostility index and
low level of personal anxiety. Testing people of first group
usually were being outside, in the hall. They were often changing
their position (moving, standing) – the problem of choosing
of place, and they were avoiding experimental room (didn’t
go to this room, had preference of hall). That is why we named
strategy of this first group as active avoidance. It was active
avoidance, because we name simple “going off’ by passive avoidance,
when person hadn’t any attempt to wait, to find experimentator.
But unfortunately there were only 3 testing person who went
off (it is not enough for statistic analysis). As for second
group, we named their strategy as “waiting”. People of “waiting”
strategy were most of time in the experimental room, so they
didn’t avoid experimental situation (experimental room with
camera). Testing people of second group were looking round,
were playing with camera in the room, and then (after investigation
of experimental room) they began to wait of experimentator
inside the room.
So, the choice of behavioral strategy depends on the personal
anxiety and index of hostility, i.e. the higher anxiety and
hostility the more intensive level of behavioral activity,
which is not directed to solution of ambiguity situation.
We have found that choice of strategy of behavior is correlating
with level of personal anxiety and hostility.
The testing students, who were with high level of personal
anxiety and hostility, have shown avoid strategy of behavior,
they have chosen hall instead of experimental room. The behavior
of this group was characterized by high level of move activity
and by often changing of position (to go, to stay or to sit).
Testing students, who have chosen experimental room, had low
level of anxiety, hostility and jealousy. They didn’t show
high move activity and they were sitting inside the room with
their own occupations.
The using of genetic behavioral models of behavior have shown
that rats, selecting for high aggressive behavior, had avoid
strategy of behavior in novel situation (TOF). Aggressive
rats had high locomotion and emotionality.
Aggressive rats were more anxious than tame rats. The index
of anxiety (in test light dark box) had positive correlation
with level of locomotion in test of open field.
So, level of aggression effects on the choice of behavioral
strategy of animals (rats), and level of hostility is connecting
with the choice of behavioral strategy of person. Both parts
of research have shown that level of anxiety has correlations
with aggression of animals (second research part) and with
level of hostility (first research part), in that way it can
effect on the choice of behavioral strategy in ambiguity situation.
Thus, we suppose that there are biological determinants which
effect on choice of behavioral strategy of a person.
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