Document Type



Recent interest among personality theorists has centered around the proposed variable tolerance-intolerance of ambiguity. Tolerance-intolerance of ambiguity or simply intolerance of ambiguity as it is commonly called, was put forth by Frenkel-Brunswik as the unifying concept of the syndrome of the so-called authoritarian personality (Frenkel-Brunswik, 19+9). According to Frenkel-Brunswik, the individual who is intolerant of ambiguity tends to use "black-white" solutions of problems, both cognitive and interpersonal, and to subdivide the phenomena he encounters into strict categories and dichotomies rather than to view them as continua. He has a tendency to avoid ambiguous and unstructured situations, but upon finding himself in the midst of such circumstances, will subjectively structure the situation as soon as possible, even if the structuring conflicts drastically with reality. Following from this theoretical description, it has been hypothesized (Levitt, 1952) that the intolerant of ambiguity person tends to believe popular misconceptions and superstitions since such misbeliefs flourish in an atmosphere of ambiguity. Recent studies have attempted, with some success, to relate operational measures of intolerance of ambiguity to measures of ethnocentrism and authoritarianism in adults. One study (Levitt, 1953) has demonstrated that a perceptual measure of intolerance of ambiguity is related both to a measure of authoritarianism and to belief in popular misconceptions in grade school children. The perceptual measure is called the Decision-Location Test (DLT), and is adequately described by the instructions to subjects taking the test.

Publication Date


Journal Title

Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science





First Page


Last Page



©1954 Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.



File Format




To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.