Ambiguity Tolerance In Intolerance

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Intolerance of ambiguity has its formal origins in the work of Frenkel Brunswik (1948, 1949, & 1951). The concept was defined by case-study material gathered from interviews, which presented the characteristics of people at the two extremes of the continuum. Behavioral dispositions relating to ambiguity intolerance included (Furnham & Ribchester, 1995) the acceptance of attitudinal statements representing a rigid, black-white view of life, seeking for certainty, remaining closed to familiar characteristics of certain stimuli, and resistance to the reversal of fluctuating stimuli. With regard to problem solving, these authors indicate that people with low tolerance levels tend to dichotomize problems rigidly into fixed categories, to select solutions at an early stage and to maintain one solution in a perceptually ambiguous situation; as a consequence, they tend to adopt a premature closure. Ambiguity tolerance is among the cognitive styles which are postulated to affect second language learning acquisition. This style concerns the degree to which a person is cognitively willing to tolerate ideas and propositions that run counter to his/her own belief system or structure of knowledge. Some people are, for example, relatively open-minded in accepting ideologies and events and facts that contradict their own views; they are more content than others to entertain and even internalize contradictory propositions. Others, more close-minded and dogmatic, tend to reject items
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