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Psychological Differentiation as a Factor in Conflict Resolution USPHS

Freedman, Norbert; Friedman, Florence; Goodenough, Donald R.; Oltman, Philip K.; Witkin, Herman A.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
United States Public Health Service (USPHS), Cognitive Style, Conflict Resolution, Field Dependence Independence, Interaction, Interpersonal Relationship


Previous studies have shown that persons matched in level of differentiation are likely to develop greater interpersonal attraction in the course of an inter-action than mismatched persons. These studies were all conducted in situations where the interacting persons were working toward a common goal. To test the hypothesis that situational variables may moderate match-mismatch effects, the present study investigated these effects when the interacting programs were in conflict. On the basis of their performance in tests of field dependence-in-dependence, Ss were selected as relatively high (Hi-Diff Ss) or relatively low (Lo-Diff Ss in level of differentiation. Three kinds of dyads were composed--Hi-Diff/Hi-Diff, Lo-Diff/Lo-Diff, and Hi-Diff/LoDiff the task set for the dyad members was to reconcile conflict on an issue about which they were known to disagree. It was predicted that because of the more accomodating quality of Lo-Diff persons, dyads consisting of one or two such Ss would more often reconcile their disagreements and show greater interpersonal attraction than dyads consisting of two Hi-Diff Ss. Both predictions were confirmed by situational variables. (30pp.)

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