Research Topic

Ambiguity Tolerance and Individual Variation in Reaction to Information Quality

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Individual variation in reaction to incomplete or difficult-to-interpret information is a factor in perceiving, understanding, interpreting, and performing in many situations. The focal trait is ambiguity tolerance but it is closely related to such widely-studied traits as risk-taking propensity, uncertainty ...

Individual variation in reaction to incomplete or difficult-to-interpret information is a factor in perceiving, understanding, interpreting, and performing in many situations. The focal trait is ambiguity tolerance but it is closely related to such widely-studied traits as risk-taking propensity, uncertainty orientation, need for certainty, need for closure, and other traits. Long of interest among researchers, interest in ambiguity tolerance continues to inspire new avenues of inquiry in both the basic and applied sciences. This collection of papers will describe current thinking. Examples of suitable topics:


Conceptual Foundations
1. Are reactions to stimuli that are unfamiliar, complex, uncertain, risky, incomplete, obscured, vague, conflicting, or otherwise ambiguous similar or different?
2. Where does neuronal activity take place when information is perceived as unfamiliar, complex, uncertain, risky, incomplete, obscured, vague, conflicting, or otherwise ambiguous? Does this activity vary in intensity, location, or other property as a function of ambiguity tolerance or other inherent orientation toward perceived situational information characteristics?
3. How are decision processes affected by perceived information quality. How do these perceptions influence speed or information processing among individuals who vary in ambiguity tolerance?
Measurement and Methodology
1. What is the current state-of-the-art regarding the measurement of traits and perceptions related to ambiguity, risk, uncertainty, or other information properties?
2. With advances in technology that can assess brain activity, reactions to ambiguous stimuli can be measured at the neurological level.
Implications for Practice
1. What is the current state of knowledge regarding individual differences in response to risk, uncertainty, information quality, or ambiguity and their influences on single or repeated decisions in specific domains. For example, what is our current understanding of the effect of uncertainty tolerance on career choice, job performance, or long-term career satisfaction?
2. To what extent does ambiguity tolerance, when encountering perceived ambiguity, influence the decisiveness, speed, or accuracy of decision making?
3. Does ambiguity tolerance impact interpretations of the ethical aspects of a situation?
4. What decision processes are effective when decisions are repeatedly based on ambiguous information? Do these vary with the individual's tolerance for ambiguity?
5. What is the state of knowledge regarding perceived environmental uncertainty and its role in strategic planning?
6. Does ambiguity tolerance influence responses to ambiguous signals or incomplete information in safety-critical or crisis situations? For example, how does ambiguity tolerance influence triage in the delivery of emergency medical services? Does ambiguity tolerance influence the behavior of pilots undergoing flight emergency training.
7. How does ambiguity tolerance influence a health care provider's reaction to a patient who provides ambiguous health information? How might ambiguity tolerance in these instances influence the recording of health records information?
8. Does sensitivity to uncertainty about the security of personal information influence information-sharing behavior?
9. Does ambiguity tolerance affect information search?
10. Does ambiguity tolerance influence the task performance of an auditor?
11. Does ambiguity tolerance moderate learning a second language?
12. Does ambiguity tolerance affect a consumer's responses to advertising?


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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