Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Experimental Psychology

Department or School/College

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Lucian Gideon Conway, III

Commitee Members

Allen Szalda-Petree, Steve Yoshimura


Cueing, Integrative Complexity


The University of Montana


Does exposure to a complex description subsequently cue a person to be more complex? To test this question, participants read a paragraph about a specific topic. Paragraphs varied in their level of Integrative Complexity. Participants then wrote about either (1) their opinion about the topic that they read about, or (2) their opinion about a topic that is unrelated to the one that they read about. Participant responses were scored for Integrative Complexity. Contrary to expectations, reading complex paragraphs did not cue people to write more complexly, regardless of whether they were assigned to write about a topic related or unrelated to the one they read about. Although findings did not support the main hypotheses, some unexpected results emerged in terms of how people perceived complex versus simple paragraphs. Specifically, participants were more likely to agree with complex opinions, and also viewed them as more persuasive and thought-provoking, compared to simple opinions. These unexpected findings provide some potential avenues for future research to further understand the impact of complex communications on other people’s perceptions.



© Copyright 2013 Shannon Houck