The problem of "personality rigidity" or the persistence of maladaptive behavior is becoming increasingly important in our culture. As part of a series of studies of the Preventive Psychiatry Project of the Iowa Child Welfare Research Station concerning this variable, it was decided to develop a group level of aspiration technique which would provide an operational measure of this concept. Inherent in such a technique is the opportunity for the subject to make numerous shifts of his goal level. The capacity to change goals in the light of new experience is an integral aspect of flexibility, and conversely an inability to shift goals may be an expression of rigidity. Most level of aspiration tasks are individually administered and data collection is a slow process. Those level of aspiration situations (4) which are group administered lack criterion validity. A valid group level of aspiration technique would, therefore, offer the advantages of more rapid and more extensive sampling, without loss of the predictive value of the individual task. If this group level of aspiration technique provides a valid measure of rigidity, it is predicted that those subjects considered highly rigid in terms of this measure would tend to receive higher scores on the California Ethnocentrism Scale (1) and could also be discriminated from flexible subjects on a Short Form of the Wesley Rigidity Scale (11). Another cross validation of the group level of aspiration technique as a measure of rigidity would be a high degree of relationship with a generally accepted, standard, individual level of aspiration technique, in this case the Rotter Board. In addition, if this group form meets the criteria of an adequate level of aspiration situation, a positive correlation should exist between goal setting behavior in these two distinct tasks.
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science
©1953 Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.
Zelen, Seymour L. and Levitt, Eugene E.
"A Group Level of Aspiration Technique as a Measure of Personality Rigidity,"
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science, 60(1), 569-573.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/pias/vol60/iss1/79