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ERIC Number: ED228661
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Predictive Models of Cognitive Complexity and Language Use.
Stacks, Don W.; McMahan, Eva M.
In a study conducted to examine the impact of language choice on cognitive complexity (the number of constructs in a person's interpersonal construct system), 93 undergraduate students completed a role category questionnaire that asked each subject to write a description of two people they knew. In one case that description was to be of a well-liked person; in the other, however, the stimulus person was to be someone they disliked. Subjects were asked to include characteristics of that person that were both distinguishable and unique. Results showed that as the number of clauses, the amount of perceptual cognitive activity, and the frequency of unsensed modifiers referring to qualities or quantities increased, so too did cognitive complexity. Cognitively complex subjects saw people and described their environment and those within it in finer degrees of distinction, used more language units to describe what they saw, and used more modifiers that cannot be sensed. On the other hand, cognitive complexity was inversely related to tense verbs, the qualification of verbs, the subjective mood, and the relative frequency of nouns and pronouns referring to negative others. (HOD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southern Speech Communication Association (Orlando, FL, April 6-9, 1983).