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integrative complexity


Subject Psychology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631202899.1996.x


The capacity and willingness to: (1) acknowledge the legitimacy of contradictory perspectives on a problem; and (2) integrate those contradictory considerations into an overall judgment. This construct was originally conceived as an effort to capture individual differences in styles of social thinking (Schroder, Driver, & Streufert, 1978, Streufert & Streufert; 1978). Some people, it was posited, dislike ambiguity and dissonance and seek rapid cognitive closure in judging others and in making decisions. They form dichotomous (good versus bad) impressions of people, events, and issues. Other people, it was posited, adopt more flexible, open-minded, and multidimensional stances toward the social world. These people recognize that life abounds with inconsistencies and contradictions. In this view, the intentions underlying behavior often consist of complex mixtures of motives (somegood, some bad); making decisions often requires balancing conflicting goals; and life itself is a process of continual change that requires frequent updating of basic assumptions and beliefs. The earliest efforts to assess individual differences in integrative complexity relied heavily on the semiprojective Paragraph Completion Test. This test presented subjects with sentence stems that focused on issues of interpersonal conflict, societal authority, and decisional ambiguity. Subjects were asked ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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