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The effect of set (to integrate or differentiate), characterization (evaluatively distinct or indistinct groups), and conceptual structure (strong or weak relations among concepts) on comprehension of a social situation was studied. Eighty-three students judged groups similar to those in the story on 12 dimensions, read set instructions, read story, judged actual groups in the story, and completed a comprehension test of the story. When characters were evaluatively indistinct, judges with strong conceptual relations comprehended more when set to differentiate than integrate while judges with weak relations comprehended more when set to integrate rather than differentiate. When characters were evaluatively distinct, there were no significant effects. Also, judges with strong relations comprehended more when relatedness was maintained in their impressions of groups in the story. Judges with weak relations tended to comprehend more when conceptual differentiation was maintained, but the effect did not reach significance.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1976-01-01

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