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Cognitive Abilities as Process Variables

Hettema, Joop
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Netherlands Organization for the Advancement of Pure Research, Anchor-Transmission Theory, Cognitive Processes, Cognitive Style, Personality Studies


The process characteristics of two cognitive styles and a number of other cognitive measures presumably relevant to the personality domain were investigated. In Study I (N=74 conscripts) the tests were classified by factor analysis, yielding five factors, the first three of which were selected for further investigation. Study II (N=64) established relationships between each of the three factors and the relative effects of focal, spatial and temporal anchors in a Helson-type weight lifting experiment. The results of this study led to the hypothesis that the processes in each factor involve the transmission of information from a specific area of stimulation. Study III (N's=32, 32, 54) tested the hypothesis experimentally and confirmed it for two of the three factors. The conclusion from these studies taken together was that a general negative relationship exists within each area of stimulation between the tendency to anchor and the ability to transmit information. An anchor-transmission theory was outlined and related to current notions of cognitive functioning. Cognitive styles and abilities were conceptualized as specific instances of the general transfer process.

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