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Cognitive complexity as a variable in interpersonal assessment Lennox, Vicki Lea 1975

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COGNITIVE COMPLEXITY AS A VARIABLE IN INTERPERSONAL ASSESSMENT by Vicki Lea Lennox B.A. University of British Columbia, 1972 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN THE REQUIREMENTS MASTER PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF FOR THE DEGREE OF OF ARTS in the Department of Psychology We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA May, 1975 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o lumbia, I agree t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s t u d y . I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y p u rposes may be g r a n t e d by the Head o f my Department o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s u n d e r s t o o d t h a t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department o f CMS\Ojy^ The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l umbia 2075 Wesbrook P l a c e Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 Date M Rq^f ABSTRACT The increasing shortage of trained mental health workers had led to interest i n the selection and t r a i n i n g of nonprofessionals. One of the best selection techniques devised to date i s Goodman's (1969) Group Assessment of Interpersonal Traits (GAIT). However, research i n matching of interpersonal variables and therapy outcome has suggested that other therapist characteristics should be investigated i n regards to GAIT per-formance. The present study was an attempt to further refine the GAIT, with s p e c i f i c reference to the role of cognitive complexity. I t was hypothesized that matching of cognitive complexity within GAIT groups would effect GAIT ratings. Forty eight female nursing students were assigned to three conditions of cognitive complexity, high, low and heterogeneous, on the basis of repetory grid scores. Groups of four participated i n the GAIT procedure. Each subject then rated herself and every other member of her group on seven interpersonal variables. In addition, each subject rated herself as she thought the other members i n the group would rate her. Results provided p a r t i a l support for the hypothesis that cognitive complexity would effect GAIT ratings. The implications of these findings for future research are discussed. i i i TABLE OF CONTENTS page INTRODUCTION . 1 Programmes Using Nonprofessionals 3 Advantages and Effectiveness of Nonprofessionals 5 Selection and Training of Nonprofessionals 7 Individual Differences and Therapeutic Effectiveness. . . . 8 Cognitive Complexity 11 The Present Study 14 METHOD 15 Subjects 15 Procedure 15 RESULTS 22 Multivariate Analyses of Variance 22 Univariate Analyses of Variance 23 Relationship Between Cognitive Complexity and Ratings . . . . 24 DISCUSSION 29 Conclusions 31 i v LIST OF TABLES page TABLE 1. Group Description Scale for GAIT 21 Table 2. Self Ratings 26 Table 3. Predicted Ratings 27 Table 4. Actual Ratings 28 V LIST OF FIGURES page Figure 1. Rep Grid 16 ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I would l i k e to thank Dr. A l l a n Best for his help, encouragement and supportive prodding throughout this research. I am also grateful to Dr. Park Davidson for his h e l p f u l comments and suggestions, and to Sheena and Roland Bowman for assistance with s t a t i s t i c a l analysis and U.P.R. Thanks also to Briar and Nimba for their continuing friendship and support, despite their many boring hours under the desk. INTRODUCTION The shortage of trained mental health workers has become increasingly apparent i n the l a s t two decades (Albee, 1959, 1968). Albee (1959) reports that shortages i n professionals runs from 25% to 75% below standards for minimal care and suggests that t h i s d i s p a r i t y w i l l become more severe i n the future. Professionals i n the f i e l d s of s o c i a l work, c l i n i c a l psychology and psychiatry are not being trained i n suf-f i c i e n t numbers to meet the needs of society. The recently adopted concept of "community mental health" appears to have accentuated t h i s shortage since with the broadening d e f i n i t i o n of mental health, the demand for professional services also increases (Zax and Cowen, 1972). As large i n s t i t u t i o n s are replaced by scores of community services and primary prevention gains importance, i t becomes apparent that the t r a d i t i o n a l methods and models i n the mental health f i e l d are not adequate to s a t i s f y increasing s o c i a l demands for pro-fessional workers. In addition, growing interest i n s o c i a l problems— juvenile delinquency, drug abuse, c u l t u r a l impoverishment, alcoholism and g e r i a t r i c s , among others—has broadened the scope of t r a d i t i o n a l mental health professionals and redefined the nature of i t s c l i e n t e l e . Another issue i n the mental health manpower shortage i s that, regardless of the number of available professionals, many of those needing help do not receive i t . Large groups go untreated because professionals 2 tend to choose situations that are most rewarding, preferring to work with individuals who show dramatic changes (Gruver, 1971). In the c l a s s i c Hollingshead and Redlich (1958) study, the authors observed that therapists' attitudes toward t h e i r patients were p o s i t i v e l y re-lated to the l a t t e r ' s s o c i a l class. They reported that professionals generally are unable to understand lower-class values and hence are less prone to l i k e persons holding such values. They concluded that therapists had more positive feelings toward patients whose s o c i a l class backgrounds were sim i l a r to th e i r own, and thus preferred to treat such patients. Other groups lack professional care because professional contact with them has been considered f u t i l e . For example, Grosser, Henry and K e l l y (1969) noted that professionals have had l i t t l e success i n working with the poor. This i s substantiated by the Hollinshead and Redlich paper. Similar lack of success with drug offenders, alcoholics and juvenile delinquents has led to the establishment of self-help programmes (e.g., Synanon, Alcoholics Anonymous and Big Brothers, Reisman, 1969) which are staffed largely by non-professional workers. Thus, there appears to be a twofold problem i n the inadequate supply of professional person power: f i r s t l y , we are unable to t r a i n s u f f i c i e n t professionals, and secondly, some patient populations have f a i l e d to respond to professional intervention. 3 Since the early 1960's researchers and c l i n i c i a n s have been attempting to p a r t i a l l y remedy th i s s i t u a t i o n through the use of e s s e n t i a l l y un-trained mental health workers. High school and college students, house-wives, teachers, parents, grandparents, r e t i r e d men and women, prison inmates, juvenile delinquents, hospital aides, and others have been enlisted as psychotherapeutic agents. Client populations have varied, including i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d chronic schizophrenics, dyslexic children, emotionally disturbed children and juvenile delinquents. The volunteers and non-professionals have been employed i n the capacity of compantions, be-havioral technicians, tutors and counsellors or therapists. The current l i t e r a t u r e suggests that t h i s use of paraprofessionals i s not a passing phenomena. As the concept of mental i l l n e s s i s broadened and s o c i a l issues become more important to the i n d i v i d u a l i n society, the role of the non-professional as a s o c i a l change agent grows i n importance. Programmes Using Non-professionals One of the pioneering projects i n using non-professionals as mental health workers was established by Harvard and Radcliffe undergraduates with chronic patients (Umbarger, Morrison and Breggin, 1962). During a seven year period over 200 student volunteers participated i n companion programmes with c h i l d and adult patients. Beck, Kanton and Gelineau (1963) reported that 37% of a 120 patient sample seen by the student workers were discharged from h o s p i t a l , compared to the 3% discharge base-rate for the i n s t i t u t i o n . Although patients seen by the students were most l i k e l y less chronic than controls, these results are encouraging. 4 Several programmes with chronic patients have followed the model of the Harvard-Radcliffe project. Appleby (1963) demonstrated s i g n i f i c a n t improvement i n chronic schizophrenics who were treated by hospital aides functioning as lay therapists. Similar findings with i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d populations have been reported by Carkhuff and Truaz (1965), Poser (1966) , Vernis (1970), Fischer (1970), and Rapaport, Chinsky and Cowen (1971). Some investigations have u t i l i z e d parents as therapeutic agents for t h e i r own children (Guerney, 1964; Patterson and Brodsky, 1966; Stover and Guerney, 1966; Mira, 1970; and Ryback and Staats, 1970). Stollack (1968) adapted Guerney's techniques to t r a i n college students as play therapists for children, while Cowen, Leibowitz and Leibowitz (1968) trained r e t i r e d men and women to function as mental health aides with primary grade children. In a si m i l a r programme, Cowen, Zax and Laud (1966) used student volunteers i n an after school daycare programme. Davison (1965) was successful i n t r a i n i n g undergraduates i n behavior modification techniques with a u t i s t i c children. . Other researchers have attempted to make use of non-professionals indigenous to the environment of the c l i e n t . Hallowitz and Reissman (1967) successfully used indigenous inhabitants as para-professionals i n a neighbourhood service programme. WAhler and Erickson (1969) found that indigenous para-professionals worked we l l i n a community programme i n Appalachia, and Staats, Minke and Butt (1970) provided remedial reading to black ghetto children through black therapy technicians. 5 In another community based project, Beier, Robinson and M i c h e l e t t i (1971) trained adult lay members and high school students to work with families selected for having problem children i n schools or for being under stress. Advantages and Effectiveness of Non-professionals As previously stated, one of the main advantages i n using non-professionals i s the supplementing of inadequate professional person power resources. Beyond this major advantage, several researchers have suggested more subtle benefits. Gordon (1965) has suggested that the lay-professional worker may enjoy many advantages of his/her professional counterpart. He appears to have greater a b i l i t y (1) to enter the milieu of the distressed; (2) to establish peer-l i k e relations with persons i n need of help; (3) to take and active part i n the c l i e n t ' s t o t a l l i f e s i t u a t i o n ; (4) to empathize more e f f e c t i v e l y with the c l i e n t ' s l i f e s t y l e ; (5) to teach the c l i e n t more e f f e c t i v e l y , within the c l i e n t ' s own frame of reference more successful actions; and (6) to provide the c l i e n t with an effec t i v e t r a n s i t i o n to higher levels of functioning within the s o c i a l system. (Carkhuff, 1969, p. 10) Reif f (1967) reports that the lay-professional can serve as an invaluable bridge between professionals and the target population. He suggests that non-professionals, and especially indigenous ones, are important i n that the i r i n t e r - c l a s s communication s k i l l s f a c i l i t a t e understanding between professionals and those c l i e n t s who have t r a d i t i o n a l l y been d i f f i c u l t to reach. Considerable research suggests that non-professionals 6 have had a great deal of success i n working with these t r a d i t i o n a l l y "hard to deal with" groups which have thus been neglected by professionals (Blau, 1969). Thus, there are a variety of unique attributes of the non-professional which may contribute to his or her effectiveness as a mental health worker. Although various studies suggest that the use of non-professionals i s a viable alternative source of person power i n the mental health f i e l d , (Gruver (1971) has suggested that most investigations reported are so inadequate methodologically that i t i s impossible to draw firm conclusions about the actual effectiveness of the non-professional. As i n t r a d i t i o n a l psychotherapy research, few of the studies are s i m i l a r enough i n any respect to allow conclusions i n any area. Many are without appropriate controls and/or lack pre- or post- measures. L i t t l e attention has been given to the selection of non-professionals or to the type of trai n i n g they receive. S i m i l a r i l y , Siegel (1973) notes that many of the studies i n t h i s area are descriptive and anecdotal rather than empirical i n nature. However, he adds that several studies do appear (e.g., Rioch et a l , 1965; Poser, 1966; Chinsky, Rapaport and Cowen, 1971) whose methdology i s s u f f i c i e n t l y adequate to allow researchers to conclude that non-profes-sionals have i n fact been therapeutically effective i n a variety of settings. However, i t i s the lack of consistently adequate studies on any one aspect of the use of non-professionals that leaves the area open to further questioning by researchers. 7 In his c r i t i c i s m of psychotherapy research, Keisler (1966) singled out what he refers to as the "patient uniformity assumption" and the "therapist uniformity assumption" for special attention. K e i s l e r notes that researchers have t y p i c a l l y assumed that both patients and therapists are more a l i k e than they are d i f f e r e n t . He suggests that these c l e a r l y unwaranted assumptions have been responsible for the naive manner i n which patients and therapists are chosen for psychotherapy research. A sim i l a r c r i t i c i s m can be made of the research involving non-professionals. I t i s reasonable to expect that non-professional workers vary widely on demographic, s o c i a l and personality indices, yet these differences have received l i t t l e attention to date. Selection and Training of Non-Professionals Carkhuff (1968, 1969, 1971) has emphasized that selection and trai n i n g are essentail elements i n using non-professional mental health workers. He warns that without the systematic selection and trai n i n g of the par-t i c i p a n t s , e f f e c t i v e programmes cannot be developed and implemented. However, there has been l i t t l e consideration of selection methods even i n those programmes which have included considerable t r a i n i n g . In addition, there i s l i t t l e data to describe those who actually volunteer to serve as a non-professional. Most studies deal with volunteers who are " c a r e f u l l y " chosen but neglect to provide information about thei r c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . Harvey (1964) selected lay therapists for marriage counselling on the basis of 8 maturity, success and in t e l l i g e n c e as assessed i n an interview. Davison (1965) accepted volunteers on the basis of faculty recommendations, as did Suinn (1974). Suinn, however, required a t h i r t y minute screening interview as w e l l i n order to provide staff with a sampling of the i n d i v i -dual's s k i l l s . Other researchers (e.g., Rioch, Elkes, Hunt, Udonsky, Neuman and Si l b e r , 1965; Carkhuff and Truax, 1965; and Cowen and Zax, 1966) have done l i t t l e or no screening. Cowen and Zax (1966) s p e c i f i c a l l y stated that they made l i t t l e or no attempt to select volunteers on the basis of any set of preconceived personality attributes and that their goal i n selection was to week out students who seemed either f l a g r a n t l y maladjusted or grossly unsuitable i n some other way. One of the few attempts to develop a sophisticated selection technique for non-profes-sionals has been reported by Goodman (1969, 1973). Goodman has developed a structured behavioural technique known as the Group Assessment of Interpersonal T r a i t s , to assess the therapeutic characteristics of under-standing, openness, and accepting-warmth. Individual Differences and Therapeutic Effectiveness Since the 1950's there has been growing interest i n the importance of in t e r a c t i o n a l variables i n therapeutic outcome. Whitehorn and Betz (1954) i n i t i a t e d interest i n the therapist A-B variable. Their finding that outcome with schizophrenics was r e l a t i v e l y better for the A-type therapists suggested that i n t e r a c t i o n a l variables may be important factors i n a successful therapeutic relationship. Betz (1962) suggested that the c r u c i a l determinants of therapeutic outcome of schizophrenic patients 9 l i e s i n certain personal q u a l i t i e s of the therapist. The interpersonal characteristics most frequently cited as being necessary i n a therapeutic relationship are understanding, openness and accepting-warmth (Rogers, 1957; Truax, 1967). Rogers, however, q u a l i f i e d his suggestion that these were the essential ingredients by s t i p u l a t i n g that the patient must be able to perceive these therapist q u a l i t i e s and that the patient must l i k e and respect the therapist. Many researchers have tackled the issue of accuracy of perception as a necessary condition for communication and have attempted to delineate the essential c r i t e r i o n involved. One approach to the problem has been the hypothesis that s i m i l a r i t y or congruence on various dimensions between c l i e n t and therapist i s necessary to ensure communication. In t h i s regard, various variables have been investigated by researchers. Social psychologist Roger Brown (1965) suggested that to a t t a i n some degree of accuracy i n percieving another, the perciever must be similar to the other on dimensions of personality, attitudes, etc., or he must be highly f a m i l i a r with the other. Keith-Spiegel (1967) reported that compatible i n t e l l i g e n c e levels enhanced the percieved helpfulness of others. Welthowitz, Cohen and Ortmeyer (1967) found that congruent value systems of therapist and c l i e n t , as rated on the Strong Vocational Interest Blank and the Ways to Live Scale, an important variable. Sapolsky (1965) reported that c l i e n t - t h e r a p i s t compatiability on the FIRO-B enhanced therapeutic outcome. Luborsky, Chandler, Auerback, Cohen and Bachrach (1971) have recently 10 reviewed the factors influencing the outcome of psychotherapy. They re-port that of fourteen studies dealing with some form of s i m i l a r i t y be-tween therapist and patient, nine show a positive relationship; greater s i m i l a r i t y i s associated with better outcome. They conclude that percieved s i m i l a r i t y seems to provide a more s i g n i f i c a n t relationship between the therapist and patient, and therefore a better outcome to treatment. Recent work by Carr (1970, 1971) has indicated that the matching of cognitive complexity i s an important factor i n the outcome of psycho-therapy. Carr reports that cognitive compatibility of the patient and the therapist i s essential to positive outcome as perceived by the patient and as evidenced by his reported symptom reduction. Thus, i t can be seen that patient-therapist congruence has been recognized by many researchers as an important factor i n therapeutic dyadic interactions. This need for congruence carries with i t important implications for the development of selection procedures for both pro-fessionals and non-professionals. If such matching does contribute s i g -n i f i c a n t l y to outcome, as has been suggested, then increasing attention should be paid to these variables i n developing selection procedures for volunteers. One of the better selection techniques developed to date i s Goodman's GAIT (1969, 1973). This procedure was developed to screen undergraduate 11 male applicants for a companionship programme with maladjusted boys. The GAIT focuses on interaction and communication i n dyads within a larger group. Each member of a GAIT group i s required to roleplay both a therapist and c l i e n t with a concern, a f t e r which each member of the group rates a l l other members on variables r e l a t i n g to therapeutic effectiveness. The purpose of the present study i s to investigate a procedure for further r e f i n i n g this selection method. Based on the previously pre-sented data which suggests that s i m i l a r i t y between patient and therapist i s an important factor i n the outcome of psychotherapy (Luborsky e_t a l , 1971) i t i s assumed that similar factors w i l l operate i n a patient therapist r o l e playing s i t u a t i o n , such as that of the GAIT. More speci-f i c a l l y , i t was hypothesised that cognitive complexity, or d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n , would function as an important variable affecting task performance. Cognitive Complexity Recent research has supported the position that e f f e c t i v e psych-therapeutic outcome r e l i e s heavily upon a matching of the therapist and the patient. T r a d i t i o n a l l y , interest has been generally i n the d i r e c t i o n of t r a i n i n g therapeutic s k i l l s , rather than i n the selection of individuals. In recent years, however, the emerging body of l i t e r a t u r e supporting they hypothesis that personality variables are c r u c i a l to e f f e c t i v e therapy has encouraged investigations into other contributory factors. One of the most promising dimensions to be investigated i n this regard has 12 been cognitive factors, and more s p e c i f i c a l l y , the compatibility of cognitive structures between therapist and patient (Carr, 1970). Carr has suggested that successful communication between two i n d i -viduals depends to a large extent upon the degree of compatibility i n the conceptual systems each uses to explain the world around her or him (Carr, 1971, p. 2). He has suggested that although considerable e f f o r t has been directed towards exploring the relationship between such i n t e r -personal factors as empathy or understanding and therapeutic outcome, the psychological processes by which these phenomena occur have had l i t t l e investigation. Early researchers (Runkel, 1956; Newcomb, 1958; Triandis, 1960) sug-gested that successful communication within dyads i s based upon s i m i l a r i t y of cognitive dimensions. Cartwright and Lerner (1963) and Rogers (1967) argue that successful treatment outcome relates to cognitive s i m i l a r i t y and the a b i l i t y for the therapist to accurately perceive and communicate within the c l i e n t ' s cognitive dimensions. Landfield (1971), i n a summary of studies on c l i e n t - t h e r a p i s t congruence concluded that lower degrees of congruency i n content and structure of personal constructs are related to premature termination i n psychotherapy. More recently, Carr (1970, 1971) has indicated that the degree of cognitive complexity i s an important variable i n therapeutic outcome. He suggests that successful communication and therapy outcome are dependant upon the degree to which the participants of a dyadic interaction share a similar l e v e l of cognitive d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n . 13 Carr (1971) defines cognitive complexity as s i m i l a r i t y i n the degree to which ocnceptual dimensions are d i f f e r e n t i a t e d . "Two friends may share a common dimension such as ' i n t e l l i g e n t - s t u p i d . ' For on i n d i v i d u a l the dimension may be poorly d i f f e r e n t i a t e d , allowing him to make few discriminations among a group of mutual acquaintances, while for the other i t may be highly d i f f e r e n t i a t e d , permitting him to per-cieve a greater number of differences among the same group of persons. Whether these friends agreed a given person was i n t e l l i g e n t or stupid would not necessarily depend upon whether or not they shared a r e l a t i v e l y common degree of d i f f e r -entiation of the conceptual dimension. Therefore, the more meaningful 'functional' s i m i l a r i t y of their conceptual structure can be distinguished from merely the 'semantic' s i m i l a r i t y , and oper-a t i o n a l l y defined i n terms of the degree to which the l e v e l of d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n of one approaches the l e v e l of d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n of the other. (Carr, 1971, p. 4). In a study investigating the outcome of psychotherapy as related to d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n compatibility of therapist and patient, Carr (1970) reported that such matching resulted i n improved outcome. These findings supported they hypothesis that successful therapy outcome requires not only a sharing of semantically common conceptual dimensions, but also s i m i l a r i t y i n the extent to which stimulus objects are di f f e r e n t i a t e d along these dimensions. Carr and Whittenbaugh (1969) have suggested that incompatibility of cognitive structures may account for the f a i l u r e of patient, therapist and observers to agree about outcome and the nature of the therapy re-lationship. Thus, matching of cognitive constructs could be an important element on the outcome of such selection procedures as the GAIT where 14 individuals are required to interact on a sim i l a r basis as i n a therapeutic si t u a t i o n and then to rate each other on the basis of the percieved i n t e r -action. The Present Study The present study was designed to examine the hypothesis that con-ceptual compatability, or similar levels of cognitive complexity, w i l l affect the ratings of subjects role-playing c l i e n t - t h e r a p i s t s dyads. I t was hypothesised that ratings on the dimensions used i n the GAIT would be influenced by the degree of compatibility on the cognitive complexity dimension. Thus, group composition with respect to cognitive complexity was manipulated, creating three conditions: high cognitive complexity, low cognitive complexity, and heterogeneous cognitive complexity (an equal d i v i s i o n of high and low). I t was assumed that i n homogeneous GAIT groups communication would be f a c i l i t a t e d and thus ratings of those variables essential to a therapeutic relationship would be higher. In addition, i t was hypothesised that accuracy of person perception, as measured by the discrepancy between subjects rating of themselves and the ratings by others i n the group, would be higher i n the homogeneous conditions. 15 METHOD Subj ects Subjects were selected from female undergraduate nursing students who were taking a psychology course for nurses at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia. Students ranged i n age from 18 to 23 years. The class was told by their instructor that as they had been studying personality assessments, they would be given the opportunity to do a paper and pencil test of personality for themselves. Also, the teaching assistant for the course had agreed to run a l i m i t e d number of groups i n which they would have a chance to role play a patient-therapist counselling s i t u a t i o n and that those who attended these groups would be able to get feedback from their personality tests. Procedure An adaptation of Kelly's Rep Grid was administered to a l l students i n the class with option of completing i t . Seventy-two out of a possible 90 students completed the grid. Twelve forms were invalidated and thus discarded. A t o t a l of s i x t y grids were then scored to obtain a measure of cognitive complexity for each subject. The scoring of the Rep Grid, as described by B i e r i , Atkins, B r i a r , Leaman, M i l l e r and Tripodi (1966), i s an involved procedure. In b r i e f , each subject i s presented with a 10 x 10 grid (see Figure 1). Each of the ten columns i s i d e n t i f i e d by a d i f f e r e n t role type. After the subject 16 FIGURE 1 REP GRID 1. Yourself 2. Person you dislike 3. Mother 4. PERSON YOU'D LIKE TO HELP 5. . FATHER 6. FRIEND OF SAME SEX 7. FRIEND OF OPPOSITE SEX (or SPOUSE) 8. PERSON WITH WHOM YOU FEEL MOST UNCOMFORTABLE 9. BOSS 10. PERSON DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND o o •M a + to + 17 has l i s t e d the name or i n i t i a l s of each of the ten persons who best correspond to the ten role types, he i s instructed to use a six-step Likert-type scale i n rating a l l ten persons he has l i s t e d on the f i r s t provided construct. For example, the f i r s t construct i s "outgoing-shy." Each subject rates each of the persons on a scale of +3 (outgoing) to -3 (shy). Following t h i s , the subject rates a l l 10 persons on the second construct dimension and so on through a l l 10 rows. Thus each subject makes ten ratings for each of the role types, for a t o t a l of 100 ratings. Grids were passed out i n the class and directions were given by the course instructor. Anyone who did not understand the directions was given the opportunity to ask questions. Approximately f i f t e e n minutes was required to complete the grids. Cognitive complexity was measured by comparing each rating i n a column with the rating below i t i n a l l other rows on the matrix. In comparing any two construct rows, a score of one was given for every exact agreement of ratings. This matching procedure was carried out for a l l possible comparisons, and the frequency of matching comparisons served as a t o t a l score. Since there are 45 possible row comparisons i n the 10 x 10 matrix, the highest possible score i s 450. A score of 450 would indicate that the subject had given the same rating on a l l bi-polar constructs to a l l of the role types. Such a subject would be r e l a t i v e l y cognitively simple because the construct dimensions are being used i n an 18 i d e n t i c a l manner to construe a l l individuals on the gr i d . Low scores imply cognitive complexity i n that constructs are used d i f f e r e n t i a l l y i n discriminating among people. Of the 60 students who completed the grid correctly, cognitive measures ranging from 80 to 250 were obtained when the grids were scored i n the described manner. Using a median s p l i t the subjects were divided into high and low groups. From these subjects three conditions, high cognitive complexity, low cognitive complexity, and heterogeneous cog-n i t i v e complexity, were formed. Each condition contained four groups of four subjects each. Each group i n the heterogeneous condition con-tained an equal number of subjects who had scored high and who had scored low on cognitive complexity, while subjects i n the other two conditions were homogenous with respect to cognitive complexity. A t o t a l of 48 of the possible 60 subjects participated, based on thei r a v a i l a b i l i t y . Subjects provided a time table indicating their available times for the next two weeks and selection of subjects for in d i v i d u a l groups was made on this basis. Each subject was contacted by phone and once she had agreed to participate was warned that i f she did not appear the group would be unable to run as scheduled as a l l four people had to be present. In only three cases did one member not arrive and three more groups of four were run to compensate for these. A l l groups were held i n a small seminar room. Seats were arranged i n a c i r c u l a r fashion to f a c i l i t a t e interaction. Each groups of four 19 subjects participated i n Goodman's (1973) behavioural assessment procedure, the Group Assessment of Interpersonal Traits (GAIT). The GAIT procedure i s described by Goodman as follows: "Subjects gather into structured groups, where they per-form several interpersonal tasks and prepare systematic descriptions of each other. As they enter the room each subject receives a set of written instructions and a sociometric rating scale, along with a rationale for the entire procedure. During a warm up period, students are invited to ask the group a personal question 'as i f i t were an i n d i v i d u a l . Anyone who wishes can answer the question b r i e f l y , and the.questions and answers continue around the group u n t i l a l l participants have asked once and answered once. Next, the applicants are asked to think of two immediate interpersonal con-cerns that they could share with the group and to state them b r i e f l y i n w r i t i n g . The s e l f - d e s c r i p t i v e statements are sued as catalysts to sta r t dialogues between pairs of applicants: one person elaborates or explores i s own statement; the other person attempts to understand feelings. 1. The applicants s i t i n a c i r c l e and wear l e t t e r tags. Ms. A. begins by reading one of her statements to the group. She i s designated as the discloser. 2. Any applicant can spontaneously respond to the d i s -closer and engage her i n a f i v e minute dialogue. The applicant who responds i s called the understander. Other group members are asked to remain s i l e n t . 3. In the rare instance where no response i s offered to the discloser's f i r s t statement within a minute, the discloser i s asked to read his second statement. 4. Understanders are asked to avoid giving advice, making judgements, or offering interpretations. Instead they should r e f l e c t feelings, disclose their own relevant thoughts or immediate reactions, or simply ' l i s t e n very hard' while saying nothing. 5. When the f i v e minute dialogue has terminated, the understander t r i e s a brief ( t h i r t y second) summary of the interaction. 6. The discloser then rereads his i n i t i a l statement. The juxaposition of i n i t i a l statement and summary gives the group a sharper view of the understander's grasp of the s i t u a t i o n and his success at f a c i l i t a t i n g the expansion of the problem presented. 20 7. Ms. B. now becomes the discloser, and anyone except the person who responded to Ms. A. can now respond to Ms B. The group continues to form dyads i n this manner u n t i l everyone i n the c i r c l e has performed both tasks. 8. Each applicant i s asked to rate the other applicant on the sociometric scales (Table 1) describing such interpersonal t r a i t s as understanding, openness, acceptance, r i d g i d i t y . 9. When scales are completed, the group i s open for free discussion. The entire procedure takes about si x t y minutes." Coodman, 1973, page 29-31. Each GAIT group was supervised and led by the experimenter who remained bli n d to experimental condition. At the end of the session each member rated the performance of herself and a l l others on seven point scales, representing dimensions of understanding, depressed, open quiet, accepting-warmth, r i g i d and relaxed. Each subject also estimated how the group would rate her on these scales. Thus, there were three types of ratings for each subject: Self ratings, Actual ratings (group scores) and Perceived ratings (subject's estimation of how others would rate her). At the termination of each group subjects were encouraged to discuss their feelings about the group. 21 TABLE 1 GROUP DESCRIPTION SCALE FOR GAIT Sociometric Item 1. I f e e l that she understands what others r e a l l y mean 2. She seems sad, blue, discontented 3. She appears honest, frank emotionally open 4 . I see her as a mild, reserved quiet person 5. She seems warm, patient and accepting 6. She appears set i n her ways 7. I see her as a relaxed, easy going person Variable Name , Understanding Depressed Open Quiet Accepting - warm R i g i d Relaxed 22 RESULTS MANOVA Multivariate analyses of variance were performed to assess the effects of cognitive complexity on each of the three sets of seven ratings. The MANOVA for Self ratings indicated o v e r a l l s i g n i f i c a n t F(7, 2, 36) = 2.09, p < .05. Comparisons between high and low conditions resulted i n a multivariate F(7, 1, 24) = 5.25, p < .05. Heterogenous vs. high and heterogenous vs. low comparisons were not s i g n i f i c a n t for self ratings. Results of the predicted ratings showed a s i g n i f i c a n t F(7, 2, 36) = 2.28, p < .05. Multiple comparisons were not s i g n i f i c a n t . Results for the MANOVA for actual ratings showed a s i g n i f i c a n t F(7, 2, 36) = 2.49, p < .01. Comparisons between high and low conditions resulted on a multivariate F(7, 1, 24) = 2.79, p < .05. MANOVA's performed on predicted vs. actual ratings and se l f vs. actual ratings were not s i g n i f i c a n t . It appears that much of the variance contributing to the s i g n i f i c a n t multivariate F i s associated with differences between the high and low cognitive complexity conditions. To assess s p e c i f i c rating scales con-tr i b u t i n g to the multivariate F's, a series of univariate F's were calculated. 23 Univariate Analyses of Variance A one way analysis of variance was performed for each variable across levels of cognitive complexity. Results of self ratings indicated si g -nificant F's on the Open variable, F(2, 36) = 2.79, p < .05, the Quiet variable, F(2, 36) = 3.53, p < .05, and the Rigid variable, F(2, 36) = 5.41, p < .01. Results were not significant for the Understanding, Depressed, Accepting-Warm or Relaxed variables. Results on predicted ratings yielded a significant F for the Depressed variable, F(2,36) = 5.45, p < .01, and the Rigid variable, F(2,36) = 3.48, p < .01. Analyses of other variables were not significant. Actual ratings yielded significant F's on the Depressed variable, F(2,36) = 4.17, p < .05, the Rigid variable, F(2, 36) = 3.77, p < .05, and the Relaxed variable, F(2, 36) = 3.64, p < .05. In summary, level of cognitive complexity had a significant influence on self ratings for the Open, Quiet and Rigid variables. Similarily, level of cognitive complexity influenced the predicted ratings on the Depressed and Rigid variables, and influenced the actual ratings on the Depressed, Rigid and Relaxed variables. For self ratings, a l l the significant multivariate comparisons i n -volved the low cognitive complexity condition. Calculating the parallel univariate F's, the low condition Ss differed from the high condition Ss 24 i n that they rated themselves as more Open, F ( l , 24) = 5.68, p < .05, and more Quiet, F ( l , 24) =5.90, p < .05, than did the Ss i n the high condition. JSs i n the low condition also rated themselves as less Rigid, F ( l , 24) = 11.88, p < .01, than did j3s i n the high condition and less Rigid, F ( l , 24) = 4.91, p < .05, than did ^ s i n the heterogeneous con-d i t i o n . The low condition was s i m i l a r i l y involved i n a l l s i g n i f i c a n t m u l t i -variate comparisons for predicted ratings. JSs i n the low condition predicted that they would be rated as more Depressed, F ( l , 24) = 4.37, p < .05, than Ss i n the high condition did, and more Depressed, F(l,24) = 9.88, p < .01, than _S_s i n the heterogeneous condition. They also pre-dicted that they would be rated as less Rigid, F ( l , 24) = 5.14, p < .05, than did Ss i n the heterogeneous condition. Actual ratings indicated that j>s i n the low condition were rated as less Depressed, F ( l , 24) = 7.20, p < .05, and less Rigid, F ( l , 24) = 6.06, p < .05, than were Ss i n the heterogeneous condition. They were also rated as less Depressed, F ( l , 24) = 4.80, p < .05, than were the Ss i n the high condition. In the comparison of high vs. heterogeneous conditions, the ^ s i n the high condition were rated as more relaxed, F ( l , 24) = 9.09, p < .01, than were Ss i n the heterogeneous condition. Relationship Between Cognitive Complexity and Ratings Level of cognitive complexity was correlated with a l l t h i r t y - f i v e 25 ratings to determine whether the ratings were determined by the rater's l e v e l of cognitive complexity, independant of the experimental manipulation. No s i g n i f i c a n t correlations were found which suggests that ratings were, i n f a c t , not related to the i n d i v i d u a l levels of cognitive complexity. TABLE 2 SELF RATINGS Condition MANOVA Open Quiet Rigid Hetro vs High vs Low F(7,2,36)= F(2,36)= F(2,36)= F(2,36) 2.09, p < 2* 7 9' P < 3.53, p < 5.41, p .05 .025 .05 .01 High vs Low F(7,l,24)= F(l,24)= F(l,24)= F(l,24) 5.25, p < 5.68, p < 5.90, p < 11.88, .036 .05 .05 .01 Hetro vs High ns ns ns ns Hetro vs Low ns ns ns F(l,24) 4.91, p .05 Hetro vs High vs Low Low TABLE 3 PREDICTED RATINGS Condition MANOVA Depressed Rigid F(7,2,36)= F(2,36)= F(2,36)= 2.28, p < 5.45, p < 3.48, p< .014 .01 .05 H i § h F(l,24) vs ns 4.37, p < ns .05 Hetro vs ns ns ns High Hetro vs Low ns F(l,24)= 9.88, p < .01 F(l,24)= 5.14, p < .05 28 TABLE 4 ACTUAL RATINGS Condition MANOVA Depressed Rigid Relaxed Hetro vs High vs Low F(7,2,36) 2.49, p < .0075 F(2,36)= 4.17, p < .05 F(l,24)= 3.77, p < .05 F(l,24)= 3.64, p .05 High vs Low F(7,l,24)= 2,79, p < .038 F(l,24)= 4.80, p < .05 ns ns Hetro vs High ns ns ns F(l,24)= 9.09, p .01 Hetro vs Low ns F(l,24)= 7.20, p < .05 F(l,24)= 6.06, p < .05 ns 29 DISCUSSION The present findings p a r t i a l l y support the hypothesis that matching of cognitive complexity w i l l s i g n i f i c a n t l y affect how subjects rate both themselves and others on various interpersonal constructs within GAIT groups. Significant relationships did not occur for the most part on those GAIT variables—Understanding, Open and Accepting-Warm — which Goodman (1973) suggests are important i n a therapeutic relationship. Rather, the Quiet, Rigid and Relaxed dimensions appeared to be the variables most affected by the experimental manipulation. In addition, s i g n i f i c a n t com-parisons between conditions were for the most part not between the hetero-geneous-homogeneous conditions as had been predicted, but instead between high and low conditions. Analyses indicated that subjects who scored low on cognitive complexity, matched with subjects s i m i l a r i l y rated, tended to perceive themselves as being more Open, more Quiet and less Rigid than did subjects who were rated high on cognitive complexity and matched with subjects with similar ratings. These results are surprising i f Carr's (1970) findings are taken into account. Carr reports that therapists whose cognitive structures are highly d i f f e r -entiated are able to accommodate to c l i e n t s with d i f f e r i n g degrees of cog-n i t i v e complexity more easily than are subjects whose cognitive structures are less dif f e r e n t i a t e d . This would presumably result i n low cognitive complexity subjects tending to be less open and f l e x i b l e . The opposite f i n d -ings of the present study may be p a r t i a l l y explicable i n terms of the pro-30 cedure followed i n the study. Due to the d i f f i c u l t y i n obtaining subjects who were free for more than f i f t y minutes, i t was necessary to reduce GAIT groups from the o r i g i n a l eight to only four subjects. Thus, although dyads interacted for the same amount of time as i n the o r i g i n a l GAIT procedure, subjects i n the present study experienced the group si t u a t i o n for a shorter period of time. The warm up period that Yalom (1970) and other group re-searchers suggest i s so important to f a c i l i t a t e group process was shortened considerably. Given t h i s time limited format of GAIT in t e r a c t i o n , i t i s possible that high cognitive complexity subjects would have been unable to be as open as they would have preferred to be i f given a longer period of time. Thus, high cognitive complexity subjects may have perceived less s a t i s f a c t i o n within these time constraints than did the low cognitive com-pl e x i t y subjects. As a r e s u l t , high cognitive complexity subjects may have viewed themselves as less open i n that p a r t i c u l a r s i t u a t i o n than they usually viewed themselves, and therefore rates themselves as such. Low cognitive complexity subjects, on the other hand, may have been more s a t i s f i e d with thei r performance i n the li m i t e d time s i t u a t i o n , as according to t h e i r own d e f i n i t i o n their perception of openness would be less d i f f e r e n t i a t e d . Carr (1970, 1971) has reported that matching of cognitive complexity i s related to successful outcome i n psychotherapy, while other researchers (Rogers, 1957; Truax and Carkhuff, 1967) have stressed the importance of certain interpersonal t r a i t s i n successful therapy. Therefore i t was hypothesized that these two variables would be related to each other. Two li n e s of evidence i n the present research suggests that t h i s assumption i s 31 unwarranted. F i r s t l y , matching of cognitive complexity did not lead to bettet ratings on those variables which have been suggested to be c r u c i a l to therapeutic outomce. • Secondly, two additional analyses were done to ascertain the relationship between cognitive complexity and the i n t e r -personal variables. Level of cognitive complexity was not seen to be correlated with ratings on the GAIT, which suggests that ratings were not related to in d i v i d u a l l e v e l of cognitive complexity. In addition, a second measure of cognitive complexity was derived from each subject's GAIT ratings i n the same manner as the o r i g i n a l Rep Grid score had been obtained. These two measures of cognitive complexity were not found to be correlated, (r (47) = 0.118, p < .05). Thus, these results suggest that although both cognitive complexity and interpersonal variables are important to GAIT performance, and by inference perhaps to psychotherapy, the measures them-selves are not related. The lack of significance of the derived measures of predicted vs. actual and self vs. actual i s not surprising due to r e l a t i v e lack of s i g -n i f i c a n t differences between groups on the three sets of rating themselves. Summary Although results do not c l e a r l y show a strong relationship between matching of cognitive complexity and rating on GAIT dimensions, they do suggest that a relationship may ex i s t . Taking variations i n GAIT procedure into consideration, results do seem to warrant further exploration of the effect of the variable i n t h i s type of interaction. 32 Further investigations should include the o r i g i n a l larger GAIT format i n order to f a c i l i t a t e the group process. In addition, attention should be directed to the i n t e r - r a t e r variance, which was not controlled for i n t h i s study, as several researchers (Kurtz & Grumman, 1972; Rapaport, 1972; Truax, 1972) have suggested that s i g n i f i c a n t differences between raters of interpersonal variables e x i s t . U t i l i z a t i o n of trained raters rather than group members would serve to remove some of the variance currently associated with rater differences and allow more r e l i a b l e indices of the variables i n question. S i m i l a r l y , greater experimenter tra i n i n g s p e c i f i c . t o t h i s group procedure would ensure greater standardization of the procedure. Sampling from a more heterogeneous population would be more l i k e l y to r e s u l t i n s i g n i f i c a n t effects and would allow greater general-i z a b i l i t y of r e s u l t s . 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