Investigating the Role of Tolerance of Ambiguity in Responses to Contemporary Poetry

Open Access
Beckman, Warren Michael
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Karen Page Winterich, Thesis Supervisor
  • Jennifer Chang Coupland, Honors Advisor
  • Poetry
  • Tolerance of Ambiguity
  • Aesthetic Response
The purpose of this study is to examine how one’s tolerance of ambiguity affects his or her aesthetic response to contemporary poetry. Students from the Pennsylvania State University were asked to fill out an individual difference measure pertaining to tolerance of ambiguity and then read and assess poems that varied in ambiguity. A regression analysis was used to discover the relationship between tolerance of ambiguity and emotional arousal, appraisals of each poem read, and attributions of the reading experience. The results showed that there was a significant interaction effect between tolerance of ambiguity and poem ambiguity on a synthesized variable which correlated with enjoyment. Implications and suggested future research were drawn from the results of this study.