Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology



First Advisor

Lawrence C. Grebstein


The purpose of this study was to examine how males and females who were categorized as either open or closedminded would respond to a Slide Show followed by a True/False Test and the Human Assistance Distance Scale (RADS) constructed for this experiment.

A group of subjects took Rokeach's Dogmatism Scale which differentiated them into openminded and closedminded groups. Both groups were matched by sex. They then viewed the Slide Show which consisted of low and high stress pictures, taken from a variety of sources. The subjects were then given a True/False Test related to factual content of the slides. They were also asked to indicate how close they would get to the most upsetting aspect of a helping situation (RADS).

The specific concepts being investigated were: (1) in response to distressing stimuli, closedminded subjects will view them for a longer period of time than openminded subjects will, (2) in response to written descriptions of hypothetical situations depicting others in need of assistance, openminded subjects will place themselves closer (physically) to the most stressful aspects of the situation and closedminded subjects will place themselves further from the most upsetting aspects, and (3) that on a True/False Test related to viewing both stressful and nonstressful slides the closedminded subjects will give more correct responses. than the openminded subjects.

Parametric and non-parametric analyses of the results confirmed almost all of the predictions but with variations as to sex. The closedminded group viewed the slides longer. On the HADS the openminded males did behave in the predicted way, but the openminded females did not. On the True/False Test the closedminded group did give more correct responses.

The findings were compared to past empirical research and the theoretical implications with regard to this work were discussed. The findings were also examined in light of the methodology employed.



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