Word Familiarity as a Factor in Perceptual Defense Research

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Two groups of 13 college students selected on the basis of combined extreme scores from the 16 PFT were exposed to a list of 18 tachistoscopically presented words, 7 of which were “taboo” and 11 of which were “neutral.” The words were matched for frequency from the Thorndike-Lorge count (1944). Several variables were investigated, but only the familiarity dimension was found to be significant. Methodological implications for further research are discussed in this exploratory study.

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