Graduation Year

2018

Graduation Month

May

Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

School or Department

Psychology

Major

Psychology

Faculty Mentor

Betsy Bach

Faculty Mentor Department

Communication Studies

Keywords

quantitative, content analysis, complexity, integrative complexity, accountability, social psychology

Subject Categories

Social Psychology

Abstract

This experiment examined how accountability to an audience with unknown views influenced the integrative, dialectical, and elaborative complexity of people’s statements. The experiment tested 185 undergraduate students randomly assigned to one of two conditions: No Accountability and Accountability. Participants in the No Accountability condition were assured their responses would be completely anonymous. Participants in the Accountability condition were told they would have to explain their views to another individual, but not what that individual’s views were. Participants responded with their views on 4 controversial social issues: abortion, immigration, climate change, and gun ownership. Hypothesis One: Individuals who are accountable to an audience with unknown views will respond with greater integrative complexity than individuals who are not accountable to an audience. Hypothesis Two: Individuals who are accountable to an audience with unknown views will respond with a greater ratio of dialectical complexity to elaborative complexity than individuals who are not accountable to an audience. There was no evidence to support either Hypothesis One (p=.324) or Hypothesis Two (p=.7128). However, there was very strong evidence that the accountability manipulation caused a greater drop-out rate for participants in the Accountability condition than in the No Accountability condition (p=.007). These results suggest that although accountability to others may not influence complexity in all contexts, instead sometimes causing some people to be less willing to express controversial views.

Honors College Research Project

Yes

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© Copyright 2018 Gavin W. Ploger