Individual Differences in Cognitive Style:Preference for complexity-Simplicity


Research on preference for complexity-simplicity, creativity and field independence was reviewed. In Study I 50 psychology, 25 engineering and12 art students expressed preference for series of random polygons and verbal sequences varying in complexity. Tests of intelligence, field independence, creativity and personality were given to the psychology and engineering Ss. An examination was made of 1) individual differences in preference for complexity-simplicity, 2) group differences in preference for complexity-simplicity, 3) preference for complexity as a function of distance from the most preferred complexity level. The results showed that 1) preference for polygon complexity was most significantly related to negative response bias, anxiety level, femininity, aestheticism and complexity tolerance; verbal complexity was most significantly related to complexity tolerance, negative response bias, lack of practical outlook, thinking introversion, autonomy, and impulse expression. 2) On polygon preference the psychology Ss preferred significantly more complexity than engineering ss; all other differences were insignificant. On verbal preference the art Ss preferred significantly more complexity than psychology and engineering Ss, and psychology Ss preferred significantly more than engineering Ss. 3) Preference for complexity tended to decrease with increased distance from the most preferred complexity level. In Study II 48 of the psychology Ss selected their three most and three least preferred of ten polygons, rated them on semantic differential scales ,and stated their preference for asymmetry-symmetry. From a principal component analysis of the semantic differential scales three interpretable factors were obtained: I Unpredictability-Complexity, II Aesthetic Evaluation, III Potency. The mean scale values of the polygons on the semantic differential were compared by inspection of the data. The ratings appeared to be affected by the level of complexity of the polygons and whether they were most or least preferred. A comparison of four groups differing on creativity and intelligence showed the high creativity - low intelligence group preferred most complexity. A further comparison of the high creativity - low intelligence and low creativity - high intelligence groups indicated some differences on the semantic differential ratings of the polygons. For all Ss preference for asymmetry was significantly correlated with preference for complexity.

Divisions: Aston University (General)
Additional Information: Copyright © J.A. Callister, 1970. J.A. Callister asserts their moral right to be identified as the author of this thesis. This copy of the thesis has been supplied on condition that anyone who consults it is understood to recognise that its copyright rests with its author and that no quotation from the thesis and no information derived from it may be published without appropriate permission or acknowledgement. If you have discovered material in Aston Publications Explorer which is unlawful e.g. breaches copyright, (either yours or that of a third party) or any other law, including but not limited to those relating to patent, trademark, confidentiality, data protection, obscenity, defamation, libel, then please read our Takedown Policy and contact the service immediately.
Institution: Aston University
Uncontrolled Keywords: cognitive style,applied psychology
Last Modified: 09 May 2024 09:04
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2014 15:10
Completed Date: 1970-09
Authors: Callister, J.A.

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