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COGNITIVE COMPLEXITY AND COMPLETION OF SOCIAL STRUCTURES

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Seventy-two Ss, of whom half were cognitively complex and half cognitively simple, made predictions about unknown relations in four-person social structures. Structures differed in the number of relations given. For those with two or three relations given, predictions of cognitively complex and cognitively simple Ss did not differ, all Ss making balanced predictions. For those with four or five relations given, cognitively complex Ss, to a greater extent than cognitively simple Ss, made balanced predictions. Cognitively simple Ss tended to make predictions based on consideration of fewer relations in the social structure. It is suggested that this result supports the contention that cognitively simple Ss become “overloaded” by smaller amounts of information than do cognitively complex Ss, and that such an explanation has relevance to the interpretation of the balance principle as a conceptual rule.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 1977

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