The relative probability of forming each member of a pair of nuclear isomeric states has been compared with theoretical predictions in order to learn which nuclear parameters can be determined from these data. For thermal neutron capture reactions, the observed ratios do not give much information about the dependence of the nuclear level density on spin, but they are consistent with a spin cutoff factor, exp[-(J+12)22σ2], where σ<=5. The calculations are sufficiently consistent with experiment to make their predictions usable as a guide for assigning spins to the compound states formed in thermal or resonant energy neutron capture. For (γ, n) reactions, the calculations reproduce the energy dependence of the experimentally observed isomeric cross-section ratios. In order to obtain quantitative information about the spin dependence of the nuclear level density, it is necessary to consider reactions where particles are emitted which can carry off enough angular momentum to reach many spin states of the residual nucleus.