The author's research on integrative complexity would not have been possible without the collaboration of many colleagues as well as graduate and undergraduate students—too many to be listed here, but the names of most can be found in the References section—and funding from the Canada Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and, more recently, Defence Research and Development Canada. I am also grateful for the insightful comments about an earlier version of this article by Margaret G. Hermann, who suggested the elaboration of the link between IC and stages of policymaking.
The Cognitive Processing of Politics and Politicians: Archival Studies of Conceptual and Integrative Complexity
Article first published online: 12 OCT 2010
© 2010 The Author. Journal of Personality © 2010, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Journal of Personality
Special Issue: Personality and Politics
Volume 78, Issue 6, pages 1669–1702, December 2010
How to Cite
Suedfeld, P. (2010), The Cognitive Processing of Politics and Politicians: Archival Studies of Conceptual and Integrative Complexity. Journal of Personality, 78: 1669–1702. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2010.00666.x
- Issue published online: 4 NOV 2010
- Article first published online: 12 OCT 2010
ABSTRACT This article reviews over 30 years of research on the role of integrative complexity (IC) in politics. IC is a measure of the cognitive structure underlying information processing and decision making in a specific situation and time of interest to the researcher or policymaker. As such, it is a state counterpart of conceptual complexity, the trait (transsituationally and transtemporally stable) component of cognitive structure. In the beginning (the first article using the measure was published in 1976), most of the studies were by the author or his students (or both), notably Philip Tetlock; more recently, IC has attracted the attention of a growing number of political and social psychologists.
The article traces the theoretical development of IC; describes how the variable is scored in archival or contemporary materials (speeches, interviews, memoirs, etc.); discusses possible influences on IC, such as stress, ideology, and official role; and presents findings on how measures of IC can be used to forecast political decisions (e.g., deciding between war and peace). Research on the role of IC in individual success and failure in military and political leaders is also described.