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Cognitive complexity

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Cognitive complexity can have various meanings:

  • the number of mental structures we use, how abstract they are, and how elaborately they interact to shape our perceptions.
  • dimensions of a persons thinking style that lead them to individual responses to stimuli.
  • the level of a person's social perception skill [1].


  1. Burleson, B.R., & Caplan, S.E. (1998). Cognitive complexity. In J.C. McCroskey, J.A. Daly, M.M. Martin, & M.J. Beatty (Eds.), Communication and personality: Trait perspectives (233-286). Creskill, NJ: Hampton Press. - Cited according to: The impact ofcognitive complexity and self-monitoring on leadership emergence, Melissa Ann Dobosh, thesis submitted to the Faculty of the University of Delaware in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Communication Summer 2005

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