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Abstract

Previous empirical and theoretical work suggests differences among attachment types with regard to their openness in perceiving and organizing social information. To examine these hypothesized differences, participants were given two sets of information characterizing the same target person, one set depicting an insecurely attached person, the other portraying a securely attached person. Proposed differences in openness to incorporating new information, differentiation in cognitive representations of others, and recall were assessed. As hypothesized, avoidant individuals were less open to new information than were secure subjects, and they differentiated their representations less than did both secure and anxious-ambivalent individuals. Moreover, as expected, there were no significant differences between secure and anxious-ambivalent individuals on the dimensions of openness and differentiation. However, avoidant individuals did not evidence poorer recall of the stimulus material. Theoretical and clinical implications of avoidant individuals’relatively more rigid, simplistic models of others are explored.