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

Abstract

The increasing shortage of trained mental health workers had led to interest in the selection and training of nonprofessionals. One of the best selection techniques devised to date is Goodman's (1969) Group Assessment of Interpersonal Traits (GAIT). However, research in matching of interpersonal variables and therapy outcome has suggested that other therapist characteristics should be investigated in regards to GAIT performance. The present study was an attempt to further refine the GAIT, with specific reference to the role of cognitive complexity. It 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 repertory grid scores. Groups of four participated in 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 in the group would rate her. Results provided partial support for the hypothesis that cognitive complexity would effect GAIT ratings. The implications of these findings for future research are discussed.

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