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Correlating cognitive complexity with competence by operationalizing personality constructs

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Correlating cognitive complexity with competence by operationalizing personality constructs communication apprehension, willingness to communicate, self-esteem, and communicative adaptability
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Belitz, Charlene Yvonne
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ix, 89 leaves : forms ; 28 cm

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Communicative competence ( lcsh )
Cognition ( lcsh )
Human information processing ( lcsh )
Cognition ( fast )
Communicative competence ( fast )
Human information processing ( fast )
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Includes bibliographical references.
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Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Arts, Communication.
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Department of Communication
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by Charlene Yvonne Belitz.

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University of Colorado Denver
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Full Text
CORRELATING COGNITIVE COMPLEXITY
WITH COMPETENCE
By Operationalizing Personality Constructs:
Communication Apprehension, Willingness-to-Communicate, Self-Esteem,
and Communicative Adaptability
by
Charlene Yvonne Belitz
B.A., Regis University, 1992
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Communication
1993


1993 by Charlene Yvonne Belitz
All rights reserved.


This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Charlene Yvonne Belitz
has been approved for the
Department of
Communication
by
mA
Date


Belitz, Charlene Yvonne (M.A., Communication)
CORRELATING COGNITIVE COMPLEXITY WITH COMPETENCE
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Samuel A. Betty
ABSTRACT
Communication scholars have investigated the relationship between and
among cognitive complexity, communication apprehension, willingness-to-
communicate, self-esteem, and communicative competence by focusing on such
variables as persuasiveness, comforting messages, and impression formation.
This study has focused directly on these constructs by correlating student
subjects responses to eight previously proven measures: Crocketts Role
Category Questionnaire (RCQ), McCroskeys Personal Report of Communication
Apprehension (PRCA-24), McCroskeys Willingness-to-Communicate Scale (WTC),
Janis and Field's Feelings of Inadequacy Scale (JFQ), Rosenbergs Self-Esteem
Scale (RSE), Rubins Communication Competency Self-Report (CCSR), Morreales
Communication Behaviors Instrument (CBI), and Durans Communicative
Adaptability Scale (CA).
No relationship emerged between cognitive complexity and the other
constructs, according to Pearsons product-moment correlation. However, strong
correlation (/= <.001) exists among communication apprehension, willingness-to-
communicate, and one measure of self-esteem. The two measures of
communicative competence moderately correlated with each other.
iv


Communicative adaptability, a construct offered by Duran (1983) as a
measure of communicative competence, correlated strongly with every other
construct operationalized except cognitive complexity.
Further study of the relationship between communicative adaptability and
cognitive complexity is loudly called for by these findings. Such study holds the
potential of bridging the theoretical frameworks of the constructivist view and the
human information processing view of cognitive complexity, thus enhancing the
substantial contribution from each camp.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis.
I recommend its publication.
Signed
Samuel A. Betty
v


May all sentient beings,
oneself and others, find constant happiness through
love and compassion associated with wisdom.


CONTENTS
CHAPTER
1. PROBLEM STATEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT .......................1
2. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ................................9
Communication Theory on the Construct of
Cognitive Complexity .................................. 11
Delia, OKeefe, and OKeefe
Articulate Constructivist Approach ............ 13
Schroder, Driver, and Streufert Develop
Human Information Processing Approach ...........14
Research Uses Cognitive Complexity
Alternately as the Dependent Variable
or the Independent Variable .....................17
In Summary Regarding Cognitive
Complexity, Communication Theory ................21
Competence Theory Emerges ..............................22
Contempory Definitions of Competence.............22
Competence Defined as Effectiveness
and Appropriateness .............................22
Competence Attained Through Skill,
Knowledge, and Motivation .......................24
Competence Evaluated ............................26
In Summary .............................................27


3. PRESENTATION OF RESEARCH QUESTIONS
AND HYPOTHESES.........................................28
Research Question #1...................................29
Research Question #2 ..................................29
Research Question #3 ..................................30
4. RESEARCH DESIGN........................................31
Administration ........................................31
Subjects ..............................................32
Statistical Tests .....................................34
Review of Instruments and Definition of Variables .....36
Role Category Questionnaire (RCQ) ...............36
Communication Apprehension ......................37
Willingness-to-Communicate ......................39
Self-Esteem .....................................41
Communicative Adaptability ......................43
Competence ......................................43
Communication Competency Self-Report (CCSR) ... 44
Communication Behaviors Instrument (CBI) ........45
In Summary ............................................46
4. FINDINGS ................................................ 48
Response to the Research Questions and
Acceptance or Rejection of the Hypotheses .............49
viii


First Round of Correlation
53
Second Round of Correlation .............................54
Cognitive Complexity...............................55
Mid-range Personality Constructs ..................56
Communicative Competence ..........................56
Communicative Adaptability.........................58
Third Round of Correlation ..............................59
In Summary ..............................................59
5. DISCUSSION ..............................................61
From the Scholarly Literature ...........................62
From This Research Project ..............................64
Communicative Competence ..........................64
Communication Apprehension, Willingness-to-
Communicate, and Self-Esteem ......................65
Cognitive Complexity...............................65
Communicative Adaptability........................ 66
A Model for Communicative Competence Based in
Communicative Adaptability ..............................67
Limitations of This Research Project ....................68
Implications for Further Research .......................69
APPENDIX
A. Questionnaires ............................................70
WORKS CITED ......................................................... 82
ix


CHAPTER 1
PROBLEM STATEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT
Cognitive complexity as been studied for four decades by empiric
researchers in psychology (Bieri, Atkins, Briar, Leaman, Miller, &Tripodi, 1966;
Kelly, 1955), social psychology (Duck, 1983), cognitive psychology (Goldstein &
Blackman, 1978; Neimeyer, 1983), and communication (for example, Burleson,
1987; Delia & Crockett, 1973; Greene, 1984b; Rubin & Henzl, 1984; Sypher &
Higgins, 1989). The dimensions of this abstract construct have been
constitutively and operationally defined by constructivists and human information
processing researchers. Most studies have focused on low/high differentiation
(Crockett, Press, Delia, & Kenney, 1974), concreteness/abstraction (Schroder,
Driver, & Streufert, 1967), low/high comprehensiveness (OKeefe, B. J., & Delia,
1979; OKeefe, D. J., & Shepherd, 1982), and perspective-taking (Beatty & Payne,
1984; Campbell, 1989; Dixon & Moore, 1990; Hale & Delia, 1976; Johnson, 1984;
Long, 1990; Ritter, 1979). In addition, integrative complexity (Tuckman, 1966),
cognitive flexibility (Scott, 1962), strategic complexity (Applegate, 1983), and
conceptual complexity (Coren & Suedfeld, 1990) have alternately been
considered.
The effects of high and low cognitive complexity on cognitions, affects,
and behaviors have been measured in numerous mid-range personality
1


constructs. McCroskeys report of communication apprehension (McCroskey &
Anderson, 1976) has been the alternately the independent avariable and the
dependent variable in numerous studies. Rosenberg's (1989) work on
adolescent self-esteem has yielded an instrument that has been used
independently or in concert with other instruments to investigate the relationship
of self-esteem and cognitive complexity. Willingness-to-communicate
(McCroskey & Richmond, 1987), receiver apprehension (Wheeless, 1975),
unwillingness-to-communicate (Burgoon, 1976), self-monitoring (Tardy &
Hosman, 1982), emotional empathy (Mehrabian & Hunter, 1989), communicative
adaptability (Duran, 1983), interaction involvement (Cegala, 1981), and shyness
(Prisbell, 1991) have been studied individually and in tandem as communication
researchers and others pursue knowledge and predictability.
Clusters of constructs, the aforementioned and others, become functions
or processes and variables for further study. Impression formation and
management (Applegate, 1982; Delia, Clark, & Switzer, 1974; OKeefe, B. J. &
Delia, 1979; OKeefe, B. J. & Shepherd, 1989), interpersonal attraction (Burleson
& Denton, 1992; Delia, Clark, & Switzer, 1979), inconsistent information
processing (Bieri, 1968), persuasive strategies (Clark & Delia, 1977; Delia, Kline,
& Burleson, 1979), listener-adapted messages (Alvy, 1973; Delia & Clark, 1977;
Hale, 1982), and comforting strategies (Burleson, 1984) have become research
specialties of the major communication theorists of the day.
2


Communicative competence has received ever increasing attention with
current studies focusing on defining competency as effectiveness (Hale, 1980;
Rubin & Henzl, 1984; Spitzberg, 1988) and appropriateness (Rubin, 1985;
i
Spitzberg, 1988; Spitzberg & Cupach, 1989). Instruments have been designed
and validated which observe molecular and molar behaviors in the arenas of
knowledge, skill and motivation and which evaluate competency (Morreale, 1993;
Rubin, 1985; Spitzberg, 1983,1988).
This project proposes to correlate cognitive complexity to competency by
correlating communication apprehension, willingness-to-communicate, self-
esteem, and adaptability. These mid-range personality constructs have been
found by researchers to impact verbal skills, nonverbal skills, and listening skills.
Cognitive complexity predicts the ability to encode and decode information
(Rubin & Henzl, 1984), which impacts the acquisition of rules knowledge and the
reinforcement of motivation. Skills, together with knowledge and motivation,
predict effectiveness and appropriateness (Rubin, 1985; Spitzberg, 1988;
Spitzberg & Cupach, 1989; Spitzberg & Hecht, 1984).
Reliable and valid instruments to measure communication competency
are extant. Self-referenced, other-interactant-referenced, and trained-other-
referenced reports have been administered with statistically significant
correlations between them (Rubin, 1985; Spitzberg, 1988). In addition,
Morreales (1993) Communication Behaviors Instrument, a new measure
3


undergoing development, will be correlated with empirically proven measures in
this research project.
Cognitive complexity and communication competence have each enjoyed
their day in the spotlight of communication scholarship. Each continues to be
central to the research of its advocates. Cognitive complexity originated with
Kelly as he sought to explicate cognitive psychology. Competence, usually
proceeded by some descriptor such as interpersonal or communicative, has
been the subject of extensive investigation since the days of Aristotle.
Scholars have inferred the dimensions of cognitive complexity by
observing and recording behaviors, manipulating constructs, then attributing the
outcome, in part or whole, to the more abstract construct which Kelly had
labeled cognitive complexity. Other approaches have labeled the same domain
schema or structure. Despite the difference in labeling, there is agreement that
the ability to differentiate increases and becomes more complex according to a
developmental timeline. As this ability increases and expands, so does the way
one perceives and interacts with the phenomenological world. At some more
evolved point, differentiation gives way to discrimination and levels of
differentiation are formed. The ensuing structure, schema, or construct enables
one to think in increasingly more conceptual ways. As this abstract thinking
develops, one is able to perceive and interact with less restriction and more
comprehensiveness. Differentiation, abstraction, and comprehensiveness allow
for one to evolve first into, next through, and finally beyond egocentricity to
4


consideration of and concern for another. Structuring more differentiated,
discriminated, comprehensive, and abstract information into useful systems
requires the ability to hierarchically integrate, the next of the dimensions of
cognitive complexity to develop. All of these dimensions are called forth in
concert with the last developing dimension, that of adaptability, to accomplish
communicative goals and objectives. It is the flexibility of this adaption based on
careful, sensitive, and complete perspective-taking that enables one to be
effective and appropriate in their communicative accomplishments. While
theoretical approaches such as constructivism and human information
processing describe these dimensions and processes in differing terminology
and attribute differing valances to them, there remains concurrence about their
developmental nature.
Constructivists tie their theory to the cognitive development theory of
Piaget (1932) who concluded that children transition through four stages:
sensorimotor, pre-operational, concrete operations, and formal operations. The
sensorimotor stage, lasting until around the age of two, is dominated by activity
of the senses, and by such motor actions as sucking, touching and grasping and
then climaxes with the manipulation of internal representations of objects. The
foundation for the second stage, pre-operational, is set by this internal activity.
During the pre-operational stage lasting from two to six or seven years of age,
the child develops the ability to use mental symbols and, as language develops,
verbal representations of objects and events. Of key interest at this stage is
5


centration--the focusing on one specific object or situation at a time--which
manifests as egocentrism--only seeing from ones own perspective. The third
stage, termed the stage of concrete operations because the child can perform
only those tasks when the objects can be seen and manipulated, begins to
emerge at about the age of six and lasts until eleven or twelve. It is
characterized by the ability to understand that the mass, volume, and weight of
an object or substance remain unchanged despite changes in its location,
shape, and or physical arrangement; by the ability to focus on more than one
dimension at a time-decentration-which enables the child to differentiate, to
discriminate, and to hierarchically classify; and by the ability to order objects
according to some quantified or perceptual, relative appearances-seriation
(Sugarman, 1986). The fourth stage, emerging then subsequent to eleven or
twelve years of age and, since there is no fifth stage, continuing throughout
adulthood, is that of formal reasoning. This stage is indicated when the young
person begins to employ logical, abstract thinking and reasoning in the solving
of problems, denoting both the ability to distinguish the form of a problem from
its specific content and the ability to apply concepts to different and hypothetical
situations.
These four stages correspond roughly to the development of the
dimensions of cognitive complexity: first the ability to perceive, then to
differentiate and discriminate, next to take perspective, and finally to integrate,
organize, and apply. Other researchers and psychologists have pointed out
6


additional nuances, perhaps on a slightly differing timeline, but all with a
developmental nature. The information processing view includes the Piagetian
stages, and does not subscribe to the notion that development is static after the
fourth stage. This view allows for the continuing evolution of the cognitive
system throughout life.
Most approaches to cognitive development include Werners (1957, p.
126) Orthogenic Principle: "Wherever development occurs it proceeds from a
state of relative globality and lack of differentiation to a state of increasing
differentiation, articulation, and hierarchic integration." For example, in the
differentiation dimension, this principle calls for movement from concrete,
behavioral constructs toward psychological constructs differentiated in quantity
and in quality (numbers and levels).
As the cognitive system evolves toward increased complexity, one within
whom this development occurs behaves in predictable ways. Likewise, if the
system does not continue to develop for genetic, cultural, or nurturance reasons,
one also behaves predictably. Communication is aided or hindered.
Based on this high degree of predictability, it may be possible to
understand (a) which elements of the complexity system directly or indirectly
relate to molar and molecular behaviors; (b) whether all elements of this
complexity system are developmental^ bounded and if so how, or if not, which
ones are not and why not; and (c) how maximum development is stimulated and
otherwise supported or how the limited capability may be better applied.
7


This research project is devoted to furthering study in the first of these
arenas, that of understanding the relationship between cognitive complexity and
effective and appropriate behaviors which are deemed by oneself and others to
be masterfully competent. The succeeding chapters in this paper review the
scholarly literature of these two constructs; present research questions,
hypotheses, and definitions of the variables; explicate the research design by
describing the subjects, the instruments, and the statistical process; report the
research findings; and then discuss the studys strengths and weaknesses,
examine the implications of the findings and make suggestions for future
research.
8


CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF THE LITERA TURE
Personal Construct Psychology Nurtures Cognitive Complexity Construct
The American approach to personal construct psychology coalesced
around Kelly at Ohio State University upon the 1955 publication of his theories
drawn from his experience in his rural clinical practice of the 1930s and 1940s.
Prior to that, time numerous single publications by individual authors had
appeared and theory development in numerous university and private practices
had begun. Several small networks developed during the next decade: around
Bieri at Columbia, around Crockett at Clark, and around Landfield at Missouri.
Cognitive complexity served as the paradigm for research studies during this
time based on Kellys repertory grid techniques and advanced significantly by
Bieri. A larger, more institutionalized, and more formal system of theory
development was taking place in Great Britain, with four major network centers
and appreciably more participants. This system focused on schizophrenic
thought disorder (Neimeyer, 1983).
With Kellys move from Ohio to Brandeis University in the mid-1960s, that
network disintegrated. Although his association with Maher and Maslow held
great promise, Kelly died before Brandeis became the training and research
9


center for personal construct psychology they had envisioned. With his demise,
the mantle of leadership in this domain passed to Landfield at the University of
Missouri. However, with 42 significant contributors to this theory located in 38
institutions across the United States, no clusters of work existed.
The leading researchers interest, and that of their students, began to
focus on specialties during the 1970s. Crockett, Press, and Delia at the
University of Kansas began to investigate social perception and communication.
With Landfields move from Missouri to the University of Nebraska that institution
began to grow as a training and research center.
During the 1980s, personal construct theorists continued to publish in
interdisciplinary publications, to develop specialty Interests, and to nurture their
contribution to the emerging field of communication study. Personal construct
psychology began to take on the look of a mature discipline by publishing
chaptered-books, by holding international conferences co-sponsored by the
British theorists, and by expanding to include work in friendship formation,
politics, and environmental construing. The British integrated their work with
symbolic interactionism and phenomenology.
The roots of cognitive complexity were firmly established in personal
construct theory from the debut of that discipline. Communication theorists, and
particularly constructivists, continue to examine the existence and impact of
cognitive complexity.
10


Communication Theory on the Construct of Cognitive Complexity
The cognitive approach to communication emerged as an alternative to
behaviorism, with the advent of the conceptual revolution prompted by Noam
Chomsky. Behaviorism had denied the importance of mental processes,
according to Greene (1984a) in his review of the literature on the explication of
cognitive communicative phenomena. Cognition, from a communication
perspective, is most closely tied to the information processing approach to mind,
and links inputs into that system with outputs from it based on observation of
regularities. Conceptualization of structures and processes, and the subsequent
generation of predictions form internal processes, which are typically held to
involve meaning analysis, memory storage and retrieval, and output formulation.
Because all human responses can be explained in this manner, theorists deem
all emotions and behaviors to be legitimate concerns of cognitive theory.
Cognitivism is fundamentally an empirical pursuit.
There are several theoretical assumptions which contextualize this area. It
is expected that one is capable of formulating behavioral alternatives and
choosing among them based upon anticipated outcomes. The individual acts on
the basis of meanings which have been assigned to input. In the production of
social behavior, cognitive processes are prime over the social factors which both
provided the raw material for the information processing system and then
became impacted by that behavior. Behavior is explicated by describing the
content, structure, and mental operations within the information processing
11


system which produced it, rather than by attributing cause to actions of others or
to other social factors.
Considerable theoretical attention has been given to the explanation of
cognitive processes. They must balance parsimony with complexity, and
generality with specificity in order to present rich structures and processes
capable of being proven invalid. Cognitive science cuts across the traditional
fields of psychology, linguistics, artificial intelligence, cybernetics, and
communication. The basic issues of this paradigm are to understand and to
produce meaningful behaviors (Greene, 1984a).
Cognitive complexity is a variable which describes ones social-cognitive
system. The concept has been associated most closely with Kellys personal
construct theory, which emerged in the mid 1950s. Kelly posited systems of
personal constructs or cognitive templates with which the scientist-like individual
seeks to understand his world. These constructs are fundamentally bipolar
dimensions of judgments such as tall-short, good-bad. Systematically organized
and interrelated, constructs are the software of the information processing
system. Bieri introduced the construct of cognitive complexity soon after Kellys
work was published, defining it as referring "to the degree of differentiation in an
individuals construct system, i.e., the relative number of different dimensions of
judgment used by a person" and focused on the "developmental aspects of
cognitive structure" (OKeefe, D. J., & Sypher, 1981).
12


As a developmental aspect of the cognitive structure, cognitive complexity
correlates positively with other measures of developed cognition, particularly:
interpersonal concreteness-abstractness, qualitative construct abstractness (vs.
concreteness) and comprehensiveness (vs. restriction), movement away from
evaluative consistency as an organizing principle (balance schema), and social
perspective-taking abilities.
Interest in cognitive complexity (and those other dimensions of developed
cognition which the term has subsumed) by communication scholars presumes it
to be a determinant of sophisticated, communicative conduct in situations
requiring differentiated understandings of others perspectives and motivational
dynamics (OKeefe, D. J., & Sypher, 1981). Within the context established by
theoretic assumption and academic interest, researchers have approached their
study of the construct from two primary directions: constructivism and human
information processing.
Delia. O'Keefe, and O'Keefe
Articulate Constructivist Approach
Constructivism is a philosophical-anthropology view of communication
which sees one as approaching the world through the process of interpretation.
Behavior is managed by strategies based on translations of intent.
"Human interaction is a process in which individual lines of action
are coordinated through reciprocal recognition of communicative
intent and in which actions are organized by communicative
strategies; both the reciprocal recognition of communicative intent
and the employment of communicative strategies depend centrally
13


on the interpretive schemes interactants bring to bear on the
world" (Delia, OKeefe, & OKeefe, 1982).
It is founded on Kellys theory of personal constructs and concurs with Werners
Orthogenetic Principle.
Constructivism is defined by its structure of reciprocal intentions or its
organizing schema as well as its general interpretive principles. According to
Delia and Crockett (1973), organizing schemas are social in nature and are
seldom employed in full awareness. They allow one to act in consistent and
predictable ways as well as to respond coherently and appropriately to others.
This creates orderly models for action, therefore creating social structure and
social reality. Like other choices, organizing schema depend on past and
present perceptions, and future anticipations.
Schroder. Driver, and Streufert Develop
Human Information Processing Approach
Viewing communication as a technology and focused on the ways one
learns to combine and use information for adaptive purposes, the human
information processing approach is based in conceptual rules. These structural
variables provide a way to measure how one combines information perceived
and information generated for adaptive purposes. Human thought is
characterized by the ability to learn and to utilize alternate meanings of the same
stimulus, as well as to build and use patterns of relationships (Schroder, Driver, &
Streufert, 1967).
14


With the advent of computer technology in the mid-1950s, scientists
began to look for similarities between the information processing of the machine
and that of the mind. Minsky, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and
Quillian, at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (Mellon University), led the way
with investigations into cybernetics, artificial intelligence, and the formation of
natural language. Ashbys Self-Organizing Systems, Quillians Simulation of
Human Thought, and Minskys Semantic Information Processing each advanced
the study of the application of computer technology to the understanding and
prediction of human behavior (Minsky, 1988).
Using computer technology, complex sets of rules could be applied to
stimuli with resulting "best" adaptation. This process, however refined, does not
replicate human processing of information as the human mind is infinitely more
complex thus taking additional situational factors into consideration when
choosing. About the same time Harvey, Hunt, and Schroder published work on
human conceputal systems and personality organization in which they applied
information processing to behavior and specifically to the mind which originated
that behavior. Werners Orthogenic Principle, Piagets four stages of
development, and Minskys Semantic Information Processing coalesced for these
researchers in their human information processing theories of the complexity of
the cognitive system.
Princeton became the nominal center for this human information
processing approach to cognitive complexity as Schroder, Driver, and Streufert
15


continued to research and publish in this domain. Now at Pennsylvania State
Universitys College of Medicine, Streuferts current work applies this approach to
organizations as well as individuals.
There are essentially two properties of information-processing structures:
parts or dimensions and rules which organize and integrate these parts or
dimensions. The ability to perceive or offer dimensions, as well as to structure
and integrate, is cognitive capability. The relative complexity of the cognitive
system bears upon the outcome of the adaptation. Further, the flexibility and
integrative quality of the adaptation impacts the relative outcome. An inflexible
hierarchical integration may be representative of high complexity in the area of
differentiation and discrimination, but is not as effective and appropriate as a
more flexible one. Ultimately the application of high adaptability may lend a more
competent (or effective and appropriate) outcome. However, too much
adaptability may threaten the structure and thus lessen the effectiveness of the
outcome. Balanced maximization of each of these properties produces
competency.
According to Streufert (1978), levels of cognitive complexity within a
person may be quite specific to particular cognitive domains. This specificity
allows for some aspects to develop while others do not. It also considers the
age/stage development posited by Piaget and others. This focus also supports
the concept of overdevelopment. For example, if differentiation is highly
16


developed and integration is not, it becomes hierarchical and inflexible, which
could be a handicap rather than a useful tool.
Applying a systems approach to the whole of cognitive complexity,
Streufert (1978) hypothesized,
"Hierarchical complexity is emphasized and likely generated when
an entire system of dimensions and relationships is presented to
an individual at one time, and/or when the system is presented as
invariable. Flexible complexity is emphasized and likely generated
by encouraging an exploration of the components and
relationships existing within a system, by permitting developmental
explorations, and by de-emphasizing memorization for the system."
Streufert & Swezey (1986) lamented that little empirical work had been done to
understand development of the various aspects of cognitive complexity and
called on future scientists to focus research on that effort.
Research Uses Cognitive Complexity Alternately
as the Dependent Variable or the Independent Variable
Many studies have investigated relationships with regulative and feeling-
centered communication. Findings revealed that the highest level of listener-
adaptation in feeling-centered messages was significantly related to construct
differentiation although more strongly related to construct abstractness
(Applegate, Kline, & Delia, 1980), as was the highest level of communicative
strategy. Regarding persuasive messages B. J. OKeefe and Delias 1979 study
concluded that construct differentiation was significantly related to both the
number of arguments made and the strategic adaption reflected in the argument
17


justifications. Construct comprehensiveness was significantly related to the level
of those justifications. In other studies on listener-adaptation, construct
differentiation was related significantly to the highest level of persuasive strategy
used and the number of agreement motivations identified while the number of
disagreement motivations correlated with construct abstractness.
Delia, Kline, & Burlesons (1979) study of children indicated that as
children become older, construct differentiation declines as a predictor of
persuasive strategy and the correlation of construct abstractness becomes more
powerful. Another study (Clark & Delia, 1977) concluded that the development
of the information processing system as measured by construct differentiation is
more or less complete at the age of 10-12, while the development indicated by
construct abstractness continues at least through adolescence. Egocentrism
(vs. perspectivism) develops at roughly the same age, with perspective-taking
ability increasing across adolescence (Ritter, 1979).
As a move toward a richer and fuller understanding of its dimensions,
work on enhancing cognitive complexity was undertaken in the Samter,
Burleson, and Basden-Murphy (1989) work. Not content with measuring and
correlating the various dimensions, this team set out to understand enhancers of
cognitive complexity. Their study sought to determine how messages differing in
degree of "behavioral complexity" influenced the structure of ones cognitive
representations of message sources. Referring to B. J. OKeefe and Delias
(1979) suggestion that continued exposure to behaviorally complex messages
18


might lead to enhanced differentiation and abstractness, Samter et al. designed
research to measure any such enhancement. Using B. J. OKeefe and Delias
definition of "behavioral complexity" to characterize the extent to which a line of
action reflects concern for instrumental, relations, and identify goals, the three
categories of complexity for comforting conversations were as follows:
(1) lowest level of complexity: messages employing action-
oriented imperatives in the effort to manage a distressed emotional
state;
(2) moderate level of complexity: Messages implicitly sought to manage
the internal state as well as the external exigency by citing circumstances
intended to mitigate the distressful event, offering sympathy, and
attempting to redirect attention toward other happier events; and
(3) highest level of behavioral complexity: explicitly addressing both
internal state and the external exigency, asserting the upset was
understandable under the situation, articulating the motives and
expectations of the other and suggesting a broader context from which to
view the situation.
Findings from this recent study revealed that more complex comforters
used higher levels of complexity in their messages. The more complex subjects
formed more differentiated impressions of the comforter when the comforter used
the higher level of behavioral complexity in their message while the low cognitive
subject decreased in number of differentiated impressions under the same
conditions. While the researchers would have liked to use a longitudinal study to
make this analysis, they reasoned that the correlation of complexity in cognition
and behavioral messages, was more than significant enough to make their
findings valuable. While the perceivers cognitive complexity accounted for more
variance than did message complexity, the additional variance was significant.
19


In the interest of applying basic research on the aspects of cognitive
complexity to the business world, Streufert and Swezey (1986) reviewed the
literature and built upon the portions they found useful. First, they looked at the
value of each dimension as it would be of use to or of impact upon the manager
and leader. Under arrangements with the military, they researched their
hypotheses in real-world situations. They concurred with the constructivists
findings regarding persuasion, conflict management, and interpersonal
relationships (see page 2). They disagreed with a contemporary view that the
duration of elapsed time of a problem-solving or managerial task was the most
critical measure of cognitive complexity, asserting that differentiation and
integration were the most valuable constructs in this realm.
Their contribution to scientific endeavor included applying the whole of
cognitive complexity theory to the organization (Streufert & Streufert, 1978) as
well as to the individuals within it. This application yielded another dimension,
that of interactive complexity theory. It is interactive because it considers both
the effects of cognitive style and the effects of the environment on the application
of that style (Streufert & Streufert, 1978). The effect of load, the quantity of
information being processed at any one time, on the level of complexity has also
received noteworthy attention from Streufert and his colleagues.
20


In Summary Regarding Cognitive Complexity. Communication Theory
Researchers from diverse theoretical frameworks have considered
cognitive complexity to have been instrumental in many situations. High
cognitive complexity allows one to differentiate by multiple levels; by, within, and
among categories; and in concrete and abstract phenomenon. High levels of
comprehensiveness is a function of high cognitive complexity. The ability to
remain on balance and flexible in judgments rather than to become positionalized
when load increases or overload occurs only seems to exist for the highly
complex. Low cognitively complex individuals are egoistic and unable to
differentiate between self and other, while high level cognitives can take into
account the others frame of reference and can appreciate the circumstances
from which the other operates. This enables greater understanding of the other
and subsequently for the effective and the appropriate strategizing of relational
outcomes.
In the 1990s, there seems to be no disagreement in the communication
domain regarding the existence of cognitive complexity and little disagreement
about how to measure it. Each of the two major approaches have repeatedly
used their own (though similar) instrument: constructivists use Crocketts Role
Category Questionnaire (Burleson & Waltman, 1988; OKeefe, D. J., Shepherd, &
Streeter, 1982; and OKeefe, D. J. & Sypher, 1981) and human informationists
prefer Schroders Paragraph Completion Test (Schroder, Driver, & Streufert,
1967). Concurrence exists on the dimension of differentiation, on the
21


fundamental, developmental nature of cognitive complexity, and on the
applicability of the Orthogenetic Principle. It is on their application of that
research to training that divergence is the most obvious. Those scholars who
are orthodox Piagetians consider the young adolescent to possess the maximum
cognitive complexity and therefore seek to understand and remove obstacles to
maximization. Those positing continual unfolding of higher constructs and of
increased capability study environments which motivate and nurture this
unfolding.
Competence Theory Emerges
Contemporv Definitions of Competence
The degree to which individuals are able to accomplish that which they
set out to do has been of interest to researchers in many domains. Whether
tagged interpersonal, social, or communicative, the attainment of competence is
both a individual, personal focus and a relational one. Thus the definition of
competence may be either from ones own point-of-view, from the others, from a
third partys observation, or a combination of these points-of-view.
Competence Defined as Effectiveness and Appropriateness
Scholars have offered their definitions and argued for them. McCroskey
(1976) posits that knowledge and skill are necessary and sufficient components.
Spitzberg (1983) counters that unless performed, knowledge and skill are
22


useless. While agreeing that there are cognitive, affective, conative, and
behavioral components, differing views exist on the relative weight of each
component. McCroskey (1976) has adopted the definition of Carl Larson and
colleagues which distinguishes between the ability to perform and the actual
performance. Spitzberg (1989) continues to take the position that it is the molar
and molecular behaviors that are judged in the final analysis. If, according to
those who share the interaction, these behaviors are not appropriate to the
context in which they occur, the communicator will have given the impression of
incompetency. He further presses that without the effective accomplishment of
the goal as seen by the communicator and other invested parties, there is no
relative way to value the interaction. This pragmatic, functional definition of
competency, as effective and appropriate, is the currently prevailing one
(Morreale, 1993; Rubin, 1985; Spitzberg & Brunner, 1991).
Competence, and the two features which represent it, may range from
totally unacceptable, to acceptable, to masterful based on the experience and
subsequent perception of the interactants. It is possible for the communicator to
achieve the goal and yet be considered an unacceptably competent
communicator, depending upon the other's experience of the transaction. It is
also possible for the other to be highly satisfied with the competency of the
communicator while the communicator is not also satisfied. Another scenario
would have both parties satisfied with the interaction but the goal not
accomplished, so the communicator is considered incompetent. Spitzberg &
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Cupach (1989) discussed three themes throughout the competence literature in
their extensive review: control, collaboration and adaptability. These three
characteristics are essential to the communicators ability to perform effectively
and appropriately.
Control speaks to the ability to direct the situation and the interaction so
that ones own ends are met. Collaboration is the ability to shift goals and to
seek control in such a way that it considers the other, resulting in a win/win
resolution. Adaptability is closely related to the first two characteristics and
requires a repertoire of options and the willingness and skill to flexibly apply
them.
These same three characteristics are often applied to assertiveness which
is the tendency to pursue ones own goals through interaction appropriate to the
situation which makes it virtually isomorphic with competence.
Competence Attained Through Skill. Knowledge, and Motivation
Skill is composed of three levels of abstraction. The most concrete is the
molecular level and involves overt behaviors, including but not limited to such
positive and negative actions as eye contact, gaze, talk time, smiling, nods, and
interruptions. The next level consists of dispositional and global constructs
which impact competency. Trait characteristics such as empathy, adaptability,
androgyny, self-monitoring, and interaction involvement are at this level. Global
constructs which are associated with groups of specific behaviors such as
24


interaction management, altercentrism, vocal variety, flexibility, and social
composure and relaxation are also considered to be at this second level. The
most global level includes cognitive and behavioral processes which generate
the abilities and behaviors. Encoding, decoding, and decision processes which
provide the ability to receive, perceive and interpret stimuli as well as translate
these responses into actions then find and test for appropriateness and
consequences are examples of this most abstract level.
Although it is possible that a interactant might behave in an appropriate
and effective manner by chance, it is unlikely that such behavior would be
consistent over time without knowing how to do so. Knowledge is distinguished
from performance as procedural information rather than demonstration. It is
possible that in addition to knowing how, competent individuals may possess
greater capacity for knowing and for applying what they know. Empathy, role-
taking, and self-monitoring facilitate acquisition of and processing of knowledge.
Motivation affects the implementation of skills and knowledge and is
represented by factors that attract, facilitate, promote, impede, or discourage
communication. Constructs such as communication apprehension, willingness-
to-communicate, self-esteem, and interaction involvement bear on this
component.
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Competence Evaluated
Yet another factor in judging competence is the prototype against which
one is judged. Pavitt (1989) theorizes that attributions made by the one who
judges may vary, depending upon the judges own level of competence. Social
judgment theory supports this idea. Even the interpretation of the situation in
which the communication takes place is based on the interpreters ability to
differentiate, categorize, and integrate the available information from his and the
others perception.
There are three loci from which the range of competence can be
considered: the self-reference, the others reference, and that of a third party.
For the obvious reasons of resource expenditure most instruments are of the
self-reference variety. In addition, various theorists have felt that the individual
has the best view of himself, and therefore should be the one considering the
degree to which his goals were met, how appropriate were the interactions, and
thus his competency. Since communication is assumed to be relational, the
others view of the communicator is valid as well, although often not as available
nor without social bias. The relationship between the self-referenced report and
the other-referenced report has been found by Rubin (1983) to vary. In her
studies of the CCAI, Rubin (1985) concluded that a trained-third-party report
holds considerable value, particularly in skills and knowledge assessment.
Competence has been considered a trait (Cupach & Spitzberg, 1983) and
a state. As a trait it should be tied to personality, and be relatively consistent
26


over time, situation, and circumstance. If entirely state oriented, competence
should primarily depend on the individual performance, on ones circumstances
at that time, and on the other in the specific interaction. Both are necessarily
true, with differing degrees of impact from each. That is to say, trait mediates
state even as state mediates trait.
In concluding their review of Interpersonal competence research,
Spitzberg & Cupach (1989) comment:
It can be argued that mid-range theories that explain certain domains of
the competence field would be appropriate to develop. In this way, we
would expect different theoretical frameworks to explain such diverse
aspects of competence as (1) the acquisition of language skills in
children; (2) inferential processes involved in ascribing judgments of
competence to a performance; and (3) the cognitive and behavioral
abilities that are essential to enacting a "competent" performance.
In Summary
There has been ample study of cognitive complexity and competence.
Empiric research has emphatically stated that each of them is significant and
deserves further investigation. However, as a foundation for further research by
this investigator, it is essential to understand the relationships between these
constructs. By accumulating data on several variables from a single sample,
indepth study is possible which leads toward understanding of the constructs
represented by the scales and subscales of the questionnaires administered.
The hypotheses and the research design presented in the following sections are
posited to support understanding and build that foundation.
27


CHAPTER 3
PRESENTATION OF RESEARCH QUESTIONS AND HYPOTHESES
As presented in the literature review, many research projects have
investigated relationships between and among cognitive complexity,
communication apprehension, willingness-to-communicate, self-esteem, and
communicative competence. Most often, cognitive complexity has been studied
by scholars of persuasion looking for keys to effectiveness. Relationships of the
mid-range personality constructs of communication apprehension, willingness-to-
communicate, and self-esteem have been sidebars to the main focus.
Communicative competence research has focused on appropriateness and
effectiveness, in some cases considering their relationship with these same mid-
range personality constructs.
This project has been driven by three research questions, the first dealing
with cognitive complexity, the second inquiring about communicative
competence, and the third looking at the relationship of both of these constructs
to each other and to the mid-range personality constructs of communication
apprehension, willingness-to-communicate, and self-esteem. While previous
research has looked at the personality constructs more obliquely, this one
addresses them directly. Even though previous studies have provided some
adequate information regarding correlations among and between these
28


constructs, the hypotheses which seek to respond to the research questions are
offered newly. The research design presented in the next chapter situates the
data-gathering differently, allowing for direct study of all three groups, one to
another, rather than the indirect methods previously used. A sidebar to this
study is the accumulation of sufficient data for later investigation of dependent or
interdependent relationships between or among constructs operationalized by
subscores of the questionnaires.
Research Question #1. Does cognitive complexity correlate significantly
to the mid-range personality constructs of communication apprehension,
willingness-to-communicate, or self-esteem? If so, how much of the variance is
accounted for by cognitive complexity? If not, what can be determined regarding
why not?
Hypothesis #1. Cognitive complexity will correlate positively with
willingness-to-communicate and self-esteem.
Hypothesis #2. Cognitive complexity will correlate negatively with
communication apprehension.
Research Question #2. Is a significant portion of the variance in
communicative competence accounted for by the mid-range personality
constructs of communication apprehension, willingness-to-communicate, and
self-esteem? If there is, how much? If there is not, are there other noteworthy
relationships?
29


Hypothesis #3. Communicative competence will correlate positively with
willingness-to-communicate and self-esteem.
Hypothesis #4. Communicative competence will correlate negatively with
communication apprehension.
Research Question #3. What can be said about the relationship between
cognitive complexity and communicative competence, given the answers to
Research Question #1 and Research Question #2?
Hypothesis #5. Cognitive complexity and communicative competence
will show a moderate, positive correlation, signifying a directional
relationship while assuring that each is measuring different factors.
Hypothesis #6. The mid-range personality constructs of communication
apprehension, willingness-to-communicate, and self-esteem will
significantly correlate with each other.
These three research questions, with their attendant hypotheses, set the
direction and tone for this study. The research design, detailed in the following
section, describes the population from which the sample was selected, profiles
the subjects, posits the statistical tests, reviews the instruments which
operationalize the constructs, and defines the variables.
30


CHAPTER FOUR
RESEARCH DESIGN
Administration
In order to accomplish data gathering on eight instruments and to
minimize response fatigue, the research design initially included three phases
and follow-up. The first phase was administered by this researcher and included
the two-peer, timed version of the Role Category Questionnaire, the Personal
Report of Communication Apprehension-24, and the Janis & Fields Feeling of
Inadequacy Questionnaire. The second phase, administered by each classroom
instructor, included the Willingness to Communicate Scale, the Communication
Adaptability Scale, and the Communication Competency Self Report; and, the
third phase required the subject to complete the Communication Behaviors
Instrument and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale as a take home exercise
because the questionnaires were too lengthy to complete during class time. Due
to the difficulty inherent in obtaining full sets of eight instruments from student
subjects given classroom attendance variations and the lack of motivation to
invest approximately 40 minutes of personal time in completing the CBI, a fourth
phase was undertaken. This phase involved administration of the full set of
instruments during scheduled class periods with extra credit accruing to
participants.
31


All administration occurred over a 13 week period during the spring term,
1993, with each session scheduled sufficiently before mid-term and final
examination periods to control for the additional stress associated with those
times.
The first three phases returned 604 individual questionnaires and yielded
31 complete, usable sets. The fourth phase returned 349 individual
questionnaires and yielded 40 complete, usable sets. Subsequent follow-up
involved sending instructors individualized-subject packets of new questionnaires
to replace missing and/or incomplete ones with the request for their support in
obtaining full sets by (a) explaining the research requirement for these additional
items, then (b) distributing the packets as students appeared for class, and (c)
returning these newly completed questionnaires. This process provided 122
documents which yielded 31 additional full sets. In total, 176 student subjects
have completed 1075 questionnaires yielding 102 complete sets. After retiring 6
sets because the subjects had not followed directions, 96 complete, usable sets
remain, which present the data for this research project.
Subjects
The 96 subjects are students in eight undergraduate classes within the
Communication Department of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS)
at the University of Colorado at Denver (UCD). Of the courses represented by
these eight classes, only one (which contributed four subjects) is upper-division.
The specific classes were chosen based upon availability of administration time
32


and upon invitation from the individual instructors. None of the eight classes
included the core-course-required Speechmaking, but were courses in
Fundamentals of Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Communication
Theory, Public Relations, and Leadership (the upper-division course). The first
two of these courses may be substituted for the core-course requirement, and
along with the third class, are requirements for the Bachelor of Arts degree in
Communication. The fourth and fifth courses are electives for that degree.
Enrollment in UCD during the Fail 1992 Academic Semester, according to
information provided by the UCD Office of Institutional Research, totalled 11,188
students of which 85% were Caucasian American and international students, 3%
African American, 6% Hispanic, 5% Asian American, and 1 % American Indian.
Enrollment in CLAS during the same period totalled 4,209 with 78.5% being
Caucasian American and international students, 4.4% African American, 9.3%
Hispanic, 6.7% Asian American, and 1.1% American Indian. Ethnic categorization
of the subjects for this study revealed that 67.7% are Caucasian American, 3.1%
African American, 18.8% Hispanic, 6.3% Asian American, and 3.1% American
Indian. While this sample reflects the diversity of the urban campus as a whole,
and more closely resembles the CLAS population, it contains more Hispanic
students and fewer Caucasian Americans than either CLAS or UCD during the
period for which information was available.
Of the total UCD Fall 1992 population, 53% were female with a mean age
of 30.4 years and 47% were male with a mean age of 29.5 years. The CLAS
student body was composed of 55% female with a mean age of 26.0 years and
33


45% male with a mean age of 25.6 years. This research sample includes 60.4%
females and 39.6% males with a mean for both groups of 22.5 years and a range
of 16 to 59 years of age. The difference in mean ages may be reflected by the
meeting time of the classes selected as 94.8% of the final group of subjects
came from daytime classes, not fully representing the large body of working
students who attend evening classes. In addition, the primarily
freshman/sophomore level of the sample augmented by the daytime schedule
may have presented more females, and particularly more Hispanic females, than
the UCD or CLAS population.
A review of high-range, mid-range, and low-range role scores from RCQ
results by sex revealed the female category accounts for 81 % of the high-range,
61 % of the mid-range, and 41 % of the low-range, while the male category
accounts for 19% of the high-range, 39% of the mid-range, and 59% of the low-
range. Both the Caucasian American and Hispanic results closely replicate the
total sample jn all ways. The African American scores grouped near the mean,
while the American Indian scores were somewhat above the mean. Of the Asian
American scores, 83% were in the low-range and 17% in the high range.
Statistical Tests
Pearsons product-moment correlation was selected to produce the
relationship among the instruments. Likert-type scales of five and seven items
are used in the JFQ, CA, CCSR, and CBI; percentages are requested in the
WTC; and four or five point agree/disagree scales are employed by the PRCA
34


and the RSE; while the RCQ results are recast on a proportion-with-group basis.
Since r is computed in standard units, it was chosen to interrelate these various
scoring systems. Subscores were computed, then summed for the CA, PRCA,
WTC, and CBI; the role score for the RCQ was computed and recoded to high-
range, mid-range, and low-range by dividing the sample into equal thirds; and
the JFQ and CSSR were simple totals. All of the aforementioned scoring
accounted for positive and negative valenced responses by accumulating them
unidirectionally with only the PRCA reflecting lower scores as the more desirable.
The alpha coefficient of pc.001 is used to identify strong, significant
correlations. This high level is possible given the empirical evidence of internal
and external validity and reliability of the instruments used in the study. The
alpha coefficient of pc.01 is used in this study to identify moderate significance.
The first round of correlations secured total sample relationships among
all instruments. A second round of statistical inquiry looked at the same
variables after segmenting the data by range of cognitive complexity. Following
the model set by Samter, Burleson, and Basden-Murphy (1989) to more allow for
more depth of study, the segmentation was in three levels, arranged by dividing
the total sample into three equal quantities. Sex and ethnic impact were
examined by drawing a third round of correlation by the within group categories,
and the impact of age was reviewed by dividing the sample at the median age of
22.5 years of age.
Correlational analysis of the responses was supported by four relational
databases created in Dbase IV and linked through the student identification
35


number. Intermediate data summarization, which aggregated the 45,000 items to
under 1700 items, was handled by a ReportRiter procedure and exported to
SPSSPC for statistical review.
Instruments which were chosen for this study have empirically established
internal and external validity to control for intervening variables. Previous
correlations of some of the abstract and mid-range constructs and molecular
behaviors were used for comparative purposes. The rationale for selecting each
of these specific personality constructs is presented in the following sections,
together with the design of the operationalization of the construct, relevant
reliability and validity data, subsequent use of the construct and instrument in
scholarly research, and issues which have emerged and have either been or
remain to be addressed. This project also is a pilot for the CBI, an instrument for
measuring communicative competence in large groups of college and university
students. Those eight instruments are discussed in the next section.
Review of instruments and Definition of Variables
Role Category Questionnaire (RCQ)
D. J. OKeefe & Sypher (1981) found the RCQ to be the single extant
measure of cognitive complexity to meet all five of their evaluative criteria:
related to chronological age, high test/retest reliability, associated with other
measures of socio-cognitive development, independent from IQ and verbal
abilities and associated with communicative functions. The exhaustive review of
complexity measures conducted by D. J. OKeefe & Sypher (1981) focused
36


exclusively on those based in personal construct theory and most specifically in
interpersonal construct differentiation. Kellys RepTest and Repgrid, Crocketts
RCQ, and Bieris grid system have received the most research attention and
application and thus were the focus of D. J. OKeefe & Syphers (1981) review.
Based on this review (OKeefe, D. J., & Sypher, 1981) and the
preponderance of citations of it in the literature which correlates cognitive
complexity dimensions (differentiation, abstractness, comprehensiveness,
organization, and perspective-taking) to and among personality constructs, the
RCQ was selected as the prime measure of cognitive complexity. The RCQ was
scored according to directions in Crocketts (1974) scoring manual.
Communication Apprehension
A member of the social anxieties category, communication apprehension
is a cognitive response generated in anticipation of interacting with others. This
anticipated encounter may be dyadic, between one and another; it may be group
presentation, by one to a few others; it may be in a meeting, among some
others; and, it may be public, by one to many others. Anxiety is characterized as
tension or nervousness in anticipation of negative outcome from perceptions and
evaluations of others. As communication apprehension has only an indirect and
meager relationship to behavior (Leary, 1988), the construct describes only the
cognitive component.
Communication apprehension can be either a state or a trait. When it is
generated in relative to a specific interaction or a specific individual or group, it is
37


considered a state construct. Trait communication apprehension refers to the
tendency to frequently and consistently feel apprehension in various situations
and occasions. Research by social biologists have surfaced a trait
subsequently labeled "sociability" which exhibits characteristics similar to anxiety
strongly suggesting that heredity has an important role to play in this arena
(Buss, 1980). Individuals appear to have the ability to mitigate the nervousness
by cognitive interventions and behave based on the intensity of motivation to
obtain the goal. For instance, whether a state or trait, the communicator can
choose to alleviate the affect or act in spite of it (Connell & Borden, 1986).
McCroskey and Richmond (1987) concluded from their work on treatment
methods for reducing high communication apprehension that it is a learned
phenomenon. Learned helplessness, based on inconsistent receipt of reward
and punishment, and learned negative expectations are the foundations of
communication apprehension.
Cultural norms affect the value placed on communication. In the Anglo-
American culture oral communication is appreciated (Sallinen-Kuparinen,
McCroskey, & Richmond, 1991). Usual study of this state/trait shows negative
relationship between willingness-to-communicate, self-esteem, and other
personality constructs which support communicative competence. Effectiveness
may be hampered due to unmitigated apprehension which becomes an obstacle
to interaction.
McCroskeys (1976) Personal Report of Communication Apprehension
(PRCA) has been the most use by communication scholars. Although he
38


originally developed versions to measure for public speaking situations for young
children, 7th graders, 10th graders, and college students, the latter is the only
version which has received widespread use. In 1982, McCroskey developed the
PRCA-24 which measures dyadic interactions, meetings, and group discussions
in addition to public speaking. According to McCroskey and Beatty (1984), the
PRCA-24 demonstrates high interitem reliability (alpha > .90), as does its four
constituent subscales (alphas > .85). Scores on the PRCA-24 correlate highly
with self-reported state anxiety experienced in real communicative encounters
and with peoples willingness-to-communicate with others in the four contexts
tapped by the scale. Although Leary (1988) found criterion validity to be
excellent, he considered construct validitythe relationship between the PRCA-24
and relevant constructs to establish convergent and discriminant validity-lacking
at that time. The latest version of instrument, known as the PRCA-24B correlates
very highly with the PRCA-24, and permits the generation of subscores for types
of receivers-strangers, acquaintances, and friends--as well as for type of
communication context (McCroskey & Richmond, 1987).
Willinaness-to-Communicate
In summarizing their review of the personality construct, willingness-to-
communicate, McCroskey and Richmond (1987, p.154) conclude that While not
denying the existence or importance of other personality variables in
interpersonal communication, we believe that willingness-to-communicate plays
the central role in determining an individuals communicative impact on others."
39


This impact on others is fundamental to the others perception of effective and
appropriate communication, or competence.
Studies of this construct include work by Burgoon (1976) on
unwillingness to communicate and shyness, as well as McCroskey and
Richmonds (1987) work on introversion/extroversion, self-esteem, and
communication apprehension. Difference in culture, lack of communication skill,
and trait anxiety contribute to an individuals willingness-to-communicate, as do
that individuals situation and circumstances of the day, the interaction and
interactant, and heredity. While to some degree dependent upon the situation,
individuals exhibit regular tendencies across situations.
The Willingness-to-Communicate (WTC) Scale (McCroskey & Richmond,
1987) is a 20-item, self report instrument which asks subjects to estimate the
percent of time, given completely free choice, that they would communicate with
strangers, acquaintances, and friends. Subscores are computed for these types
of receivers as well as for four communication contexts-public, meeting, group
and dyad. Internal reliability of the total WTC score is .92. Internal reliabilities for
the subscores for communication context range from .65 to .76. Internal
reliabilities for the subscores for types of receivers range from .74 to .82. the
mean correlation among context subscores is .58, which is also the mean
correlation among receiver-type subscores. After correction for attenuation, the
mean correlation among context subscores is .88; among receiver-type
subscores it is .82. Factor analysis indicates that all 12 scored items load most
highly on the first unrotated factor, indicating that the scale is unidimensional.
40


No interpretable multidimensional structure could be obtained through forced
rotations in McCroskey and Baers 1985 study. In general, the larger the number
of receivers and the more distant the relationship of the individual with the
receiver, the less willing the individual is to communicate.
Self-Esteem
Self-esteem is the evaluative component of the self; self-concept is the
cognitive component. The degree to which one measures up to ones self-
concept is the relative amount of self-esteem one is said to hold, usually in terms
of high self-esteem or low self-esteem. The behaviors emanating from low self-
esteem individuals are not necessarily negative, but rather inconsistent and
ambivalent. To the extent that individuals are low in self-esteem and therefore
have poorly defined notions of who or what they are, they are more responsive
to uncertainty, more receptive to anothers input, and believe uncertainty and
outside input to be representative of them. People with high self-esteem accept
only information consistent with their own views, while those with low self-esteem
accept both consistent and inconsistent information (Campbell, Chey, &
Scratchley, 1991).
As with many personality constructs, self-esteem is traitlike. Also as are
many other constructs, it is impacted by the state of the communicator and the
situation in which the communication takes place. However, Savin-Williams and
Demo found that such factors as social class, maturation, birth order, gender,
41


and number of siblings are crucial to the establishment of a baseline from which
fluctuations occur (Heatherton & Polivy, 1991).
The impact of self-esteem on competence lies in the realm of gatekeeper.
It is not possible to be effective and appropriate if one accepts inconsistent
information and acts upon it. Judgment may well be hampered by the negative
response to uncertainty as is the ability to see the objective view of another and
interact with it in promotive ways .
Measures of self-esteem primarily use self-reference reports, requesting
the subject to consider feelings of concern and confidence about the self.
Rosenbergs Self Esteem Scale is a 10 item unidimensional state measure which
addresses global issues. It has been used successfully in validating the
Communication Competence Assessment Instrument (Rubin, 1985) and the
Communication Behaviors Instrument (Morreale, 1993 mimeograph). The Janis
and Field Feelings of Inadequacy Scale (Janis & Field, 1959) was originally
developed to study the personality variables relation to persuasibility. It is the
first 23 items in an 88 item health and adjustment questionnaire which was first
administered to high school juniors to ferret out characteristics which correlated
with another instruments range of persuasibility. These 88 items had been
culled from other extant questionnaires. Subsequent usage of this portion of the
Janis and Field Personality questionnaire has included full reproduction,
modification of items to extract state responses, and revision to a 20-item scale.
42


Communicative Adaptability
Duran (1983, p.320) defines communicative adaptability "as the ability to
perceive socio-interpersonal relationships and adapt ones interaction goals and
behaviors accordingly. The salient aspects of communicative adaptability are:
(a) the requirement of both cognitive (ability to perceive) and behavioral (ability to
adapt) skills; (b) adaptation not only of behaviors but also interaction goals; (c)
the ability to perceive and adapt to the requirements posed by different
communication contexts; and (d) the assumption that perceptions of
communicative competence reside in the dyad.
The communicative adaptability construct includes six dimensions: social
experience, social confirmation, social composure, wit, appropriate disclosure,
and articulation, which account for 55% of the variance in communication
apprehension and self-esteem. (Duran, 1983).
When originally generated, the Communicative Adaptability Scale
included only the first two dimensions accounting for 28% of the variance. To
extend its content validity Duran (1983) selected 20 items from the original CAS
and added 10 new ones for each of the additional four dimensions. This 60-item
instrument has been revised to 30 items, and retained its factor coefficient alpha
reliability range from .70 to .89.
Competence
In order to choose ins
definition of competence for th
ruments to measure competence, a specific
is study was constructed. The evolution of
43


effectiveness and appropriateness (Spitzberg, 1988) served as the foundation.
Rubins (1985) contribution of competency as knowledge, skill, and motivation
expanded the constitutive definition. For the purposes of this study competence
will be considered the effective and appropriate use of verbal, nonverbal, and
listening behaviors based on
communication domain.
Rubins (1985) CCAI is
(nowledge, skill, and motivation in the
a precise instrument administered by trained third
parties which has received broad distribution in college and university settings
through the auspices of the Speech Communication Association. Since the time
required to professionally administer this individual-oriented diagnostic tool was
beyond the limits allowed by this project, Rubins CCSR was substituted for it.
Much scholarly debate has centered on whether a self-report instrument is an
adequate method of obtaining input for empiric study (Rubin, 1985). Correlation
between Rubins CCAI and her CCSR provided validity to this selection option.
In the interest of developing an instrument that will provide significant
information on competency, yet be administered in a group setting, Morreale is
designing the Communication' Behavior Instrument (CBI). It is expected to
correlate with portions of the CCAI, PRCA-24, and Rosenbergs measure of self-
esteem. It is piloted in this project in its 169 item version.
Communication Competency Self-Report (CCSR)
Developed originally as a construct validity check on the Communication
Competence Assessment Instrument (CCAI), the 19-item Communication
44


Competency Self-Report was
correlated at .30 (p<.05) with
behavioral skill competencies
found to be internally consistent (alpha = .87) and
the CCAI. Each item on the CCSR mirrors
assessed by the CCAI. The CCAI, however, is an
other-reference report administered a trained third party and includes observation
of a student creating and presenting a short speech, responding to questions
regarding information relayed by audio and video tapes, and discussion.
Rubin (1985) considers the other-report to be a more satisfactory method
of assessing behaviors because the appropriateness dimension of competency
is an other-referenced judgment. In her study of the comparability of the CCAI
and the CCSR, Rubin found that the subjects judgment of their own skills closely
correlated with their instructors evaluation of their skills, but did not correlate
with the CCAI evaluators, who gave a more conservative appraisal of the
subjects skills.
As stated earlier, the resource constraints of this study prohibited the
administration of the CCAI. Based on the correlation of the CCSR to the CCAI,
this instrument was administered. In addition, the considerable research by
Morreale and her associates in developing the CBI involved extensive correlation
with the CCAI.
Communication Behaviors Instrument (CBI)
Morreale is developing the Communication Behaviors Instrument (CBI) as
a large scale self-reference assessment of the communicative competency of
college and university students. Correlations with CCAI, WTC, PRCA-24,
45


efforts to the advancement of
Rosenbergs SES, and Spitzbergs SCRS are being sought for external validity.
Professional raters and student respondents alpha coefficients are .90 and .80
respectively.
In Summary
While concern always exists over the generalizability of a sample,
operalization of non-trivial phenomena, and contribution of any and all such
research and theory, this research design mitigates
that concern, either partially of in total.
The sample fairly and adequately represents the CLAS population in
specific and the CU population in general. CU as an urban, non-residential
campus in a major metropolitan area is not unduly dissimilar to other mid-
western and western institutions located in large cities. The demographics of
eastern university settings may prohibit wholesale generalization to those
populations. As always, caution must be observed when making predictions to
the general adult population based on results gleaned from university-students
subjects. Administration of such a large number of instruments as undertaken in
:or extinguishing the subjects, and although
this potential, it must be considered.
this study holds the potential
controls were in place to limit
of the suitability to this projec
Research literature quoted earlier in this paper sets forth ample evidence
of the various instruments implemented. Whether
proven to operationalize a major construct by significant scholarly investigation,
as are the RCQ, WTC, PRCA,
JFQ, and RSE; whether surfaced as a possible
46


alternative to review the constructivists cognitive complexity from the
informationists point-of-view, as is the CA; or, whether to provide input to the
ongoing design of a new instrument for mass availability, as were the CCSR and
the CBI, all instruments selected have earned their inclusion.
A more robust investigation of cognitive complexity and competence may
have evolved by inclusion of the personality constructs of emotional empathy,
self-monitoring, receiver apprehension, and interaction involvement. Including
the full range of listening skills and abilities would have expanded understanding
to nonverbal and aural communication and provided balance to oral and written
communication. Administration of additional measures of cognitive complexity
would have provided perspective to its relationship with competence.
However, those analyses are reserved for another study. This research
design focused on the constructivists view of cognitive complexity as measured
by the RCQ and as related to communication apprehension, willingness-to-
communicate, and to self esteem, and to competence as defined by
effectiveness and appropriateness in the communication domain. For
perspective, communication adaptability, a dimension from the informationists
view of cognitive complexity, was also operationalized. The following chapter
presents the results of statistical analysis of the sample by these variables and
discusses the research quest ons and the hypotheses.
47


CHAPTER 4
FINDINGS
Communication scholars from the constructivist theoretical framework
have investigated the relationship of cognitive complexity and communicative
competence with such mid-range personality constructs as communication
apprehension, willingness-to-communicate, and self-esteem. Most of these
previous findings have confirmed significant relationships between these
variables.
McCroskey and colleagues have confirmed that communication
apprehension correlates negatively with behaviors which produce outcomes in
an effective and appropriate manner, while willingness-to-communicate positively
correlates with those behaviors. The JFQ and RSE measures of self-esteem have
provided moderate correlations with the McCroskey instruments. The CCAI is in
mass distribution by the Speech Communication Association as an empirically
based measure to predict the communicative competence of college and
university students. Duran and Wheeless have validated communicative
adaptability as a reliable variable in competency. Each of these instruments and
the constructs they operationalize have been opened to review by the research
community during the past decade.
48


This study utilized Crocketts Role Category Questionnaire (cognitive
complexity), McCroskeys Personal Report of Communication Apprehension 24,
McCroskeys Willingness-to-Communicate Scale, Janis and Fields Feelings of
Inadequacy Scale (self-esteem), Rosenbergs Self-Esteem Scale, Rubins
Communication Competence Self-Report, Morreales Communication Behaviors
Instrument, and Durans Communicative Adaptability Scale.
The research design for this effort called for administration of these eight
questionnaires to student subjects of communication courses at a urban
university. Pearsons product-moment correlation, with alpha of pc.01, was
selection to study complete, usable sets of data submitted by these subjects.
The research questions directing this project are concerned not with new
constructs, but with direct relationships between and among these old, proven
ones. The following sections respond to the research questions and
hypotheses, and present the findings of the first, second, and third round of
correlation.
Response to the Research Questions and
Acceptance or Rejection of the Hypotheses
Research Question #1. Does cognitive complexity correlate significantly
to the mid-range personality constructs of communication apprehension,
willingness-to-communicate, or self-esteem? If so, how much of the variance is
accounted for by cognitive complexity? If not, what can be determined regarding
why not?
49


Hypothesis #1. Cognitive complexity will correlate positively with
willingness-to-communicate and self-esteem.
Hypothesis #2. Cognitive complexity will correlate negatively with
communication apprehension.
Research Question #1 is an inquiry regarding cognitive complexity and
communication apprehension, willingness-to-communicate, and self-esteem.
Hypothesis #1 and Hypothesis #2 delineate directionality of this relationship.
Using Pearsons r, no correlation was found in the full sample between cognitive
complexity and the mid-range personality constructs, and the very slight
correlation which did surface did not exhibit the anticipated directionality. More
understanding of the dynamics of cognitive complexity was forthcoming after
distributing the individual proportional role scores into equal sized low-range,
mid-range, and high-range categories. With such disparate information, the
hypotheses could not be accepted, and the research question remains open.
Research Question #2. Is a significant portion of the variance in
communicative competence accounted for by the mid-range personality
constructs of communication apprehension, willingness-to-communicate, and
self-esteem? If there is, how much? If there is not, are there other noteworthy
relationships?
Hypothesis #3. Communicative competence will correlate positively with
willingness-to-communicate and self-esteem.
50


Hypothesis #4. Communicative competence will correlate negatively with
communication apprehension.
Research Question #2 and its hypotheses, Hypothesis #3 and
Hypothesis #4, are concerned with the relationship between communicative
competence and communication apprehension, willingness-to-communicate, and
self-esteem. Both measures of communicative competence are significantly
correlated with these mid-range personality constructs at a level of p<.01, and
the CCSR measure correlates at p<.001. Regarding the CCSR, the coefficients
of determination for communication apprehension accounts for 21 % of the
variability, for willingness-to-communicate accounts for 13% of the variability, and
for the JFQ measure of self-esteem accounts for 19% of the variability. These
same constructs account for 16%, 8%, and 13% (RSE measure) respectively of
the variability communicative competence as measured by the CBI. The
hypotheses are accepted, and the research question answered.
Research Question #3. What can be said about the relationship between
cognitive complexity and communicative competence, given the answers to
Research Question #1 and Research Question #2?
Hypothesis #5. Cognitive complexity and communicative competence
will show a moderate, positive correlation, signifying a directional
relationship while assuring that each is measuring different factors.
51


Hypothesis #6. The mid-range personality constructs of communication
apprehension, willingness-to-communicate, and self-esteem will
significantly correlate with each other.
Research Question #3 posits inquiry into the possible direct relationship
between cognitive complexity and communicative competence or their indirect
relationship through the mid-range personality constructs. On the first round of
correlation, no relationship existed. The second round showed slight curvilinear
relationships between each of the measures of communication competence and
cognitive complexity; with the CCSR correlation negative for low-range, positive
for mid-range, and near zero for high-range; and, with the CBI correlation positive
for the low-range, near zero for mid-range, and negative for high-range cognitive
complexity. The relationship between the mid-range personality constructs of
communication apprehension, willingness-to-communicate, and self-esteem (JFQ
measure) is significant at the p<.001 level. Hence, Hypothesis #4 is rejected
and Hypothesis #5 is accepted, and the research question closed.
52


First Round of Correlation
Table 1
Full Sample Correlation of Cognitive Complexity,
Competence, Personality Constructs
RCQ CCSR CBI PRCA WTC JFQ RSE CA
Cognitive Complexity .0610 .0365 -.0540 -.0335 -.1224 -.0462 .1189
Competence CCSR .0610 j857* -.4659** .3623** .4349** .4093** .6526**
Competence CBI .0365 3B57** -.4012** .2867* .1804 .3576** .4761**
Comm.Apprehension -.0540 -.4659** -.4012** -.5049** -5343** -.3065* -.6291**
Wlll-to-Communicate -.0335 .3623** .2867* - 5049** .... v, ..... .3351** .1741 .4864**
Self-esteem JFQ -.1224 .4349** .1004 - 5343** 3351** .6139** .3458**
Self-esteem RSE -.0462 .4093** .3578** -.3065* .1741 6189** .3364**
Comm. Adaptability .1189 .6526** .4761** -.6291** .4864** .3458** .3364**
Ninety-six sets of eight instruments yielded no significant correlation
between cognitive complexity, as operationalized by the proportional role score
computed from responses to the RCQ, and either measure of competence. No
significant correlation exists between cognitive complexity and communication
apprehension, willingness-to-communicate, communication adaptability, or self-
esteem (see Table 1).
Using Lutz suggested guidelines for interpreting the magnitude of
correlation (Smith, 1988), the coefficient of correlation for cognitive complexity
exhibits no correlation with any of the other variables. A strong, significant
correlation exists between communicative adaptability and the CCSR measure of
communicative competence and communicative adaptability and communication
apprehension as well as between the two measures of self-esteem. The
53


correlation between each of the mid-range personality constructs of
communication apprehension, willingness-to-communicate, and the JFQ measure
of self-esteem is significant, but weak. The lack of very strong correlations
reduces the risk that any of the instruments are measuring the same construct.
Communicative adaptability correlates pc.001 with both of the measures
of communicative competence and all mid-range personality constructs, as does
the CCSR measure of communicative competence. Communication
apprehension, willingness-to-communicate, and the JFQ measure of self-esteem
correlate pc.001, as do the measures of communicative competence.
Second Round of Correlation
In preparation for the second round, role scores were allocated to
equivalent sized, high-range, mid-range, and low-range cognitive complexity
categories based on their rank in the sample. A number of directional
relationships and trends emerged from this more discriminate view of cognitive
complexity.
54


Table 2
Variables by Low-Range, Mid-Range, and High-Range
Cognitive Complexity
COGNITIVE COMPLEXITY LOW MID HIGH
Communicative Adaptability CA .0941 -.0356 -.3254
Communication Apprehension PRCA .0416 .1587 .2323
Willingness-to-Communicate wrc -.0668 -.1449 .0219
Self-esteem JFQ -.2851 .0286 .0846
Self-esteem RSE -.0331 .0820 -.0041
Competence CCSR -.1075 .1143 -.0664
Competence CBI .1683 .0362 -.1248
N=/l 1-tailed significance: 1 = .ul = ,u(h
Cognitive Complexity
Communicative adaptability has a weak, negative correlation with high-
range cognitive complexity and no correlation with low-range or mid-range, while
communication apprehension has no correlation with low-range, a slightly
positive relationship with mid-range, and a more positive relationship with high-
range. Willingness-to-communicate has no correlation at all with low-range or
high-range and a slight, negative one for mid-range. The JFQ measure of self-
esteem has a weak, negative correlation at low-range cognitive competence and
no relationship at mid-range nor at high-range, while the RSE measure has no
correlation at any range. Both measures of communicative competence exhibit a
slight bit more relationship with cognitive complexity at the low-range than at the
other two ranges. The CBI has a curvilinear relationship with cognitive
55


complexity, although again only modest, from r=.1683 with the low-range to
r=.0362 with the mid-range, then to r=-.1248 with the high-range.
Mid-range Personality Constructs
Communication apprehension correlates more strongly with willingness-to
communicate in the low-range and both measures of self-esteem in the high-
range, and more weakly with both constructs in the mid-range. Willingness-to-
communicate correlates a=.4879, p<.01 with the JFQ measure of self-esteem in
the low-range, /=.1522 in the mid-range, and r=.3302 in the high-range, with the
RSE measure moving in the same directions, although more weakly. The JFQ
measure of self-esteem strongly exhibits negative correlation with communication
apprehension and positive correlation with the RSE measure, consistently across
all ranges.
Communicative Competence
The CCSR measure of communicative competence correlates at the
p<.001 level with willingness-to-communicate and the JFQ measure of self-
esteem and at the p<.01 level with communication apprehension and the RSE
measure of self-esteem in the low-range of cognitive complexity. The mid-range
sees a slight increase in the size of the negative coefficient of correlation for
communication apprehension and a moderate decrease in the size for
wiilingness-to-communicate and self-esteem. In the high-range, the negative
correlation drops slightly in strength for communication apprehension, the
56


positive correlation with willingness-to-communicate increases slightly but not to
the significance attained in low-range, while one measure of self-esteem drops
and the other increases in correlation to the CCSR measure of communicative
competence. This constructs correlation with cognitive complexity is slight, but
curvilinear: negative at low-range, positive at mid-range, and near zero at high-
range.
The slight variability in correlations with the CBI measure of
communicative competence exhibits different dynamics from the CCSR. The
cognitive complexity correlation, again slight and curvilinear, begins positive in
the low-range, near zero in the mid-range, and negative in the high-range. The
negative relationship continues to correlate more strongly from low-range to mid-
range to high-range. Both measures of self-esteem show slightly weaker
correlation at mid-range than at low-range or high-range, with the RSE measure
correlating somewhat stronger in all three ranges than the JFQ measure.
The two measures of communicative competence correlate at r=.3797 for
the low-range; r=.4648, p<.01 at the mid-range, and a=.3108 at the high-range.
57


Table 3
Variables by Low-Range, Mid-Range,and High-Range
Cognitive Complexity
COMMUNICATIVE LOW MID HIGH
ADAPTABILITY
Cognitive Complexity RCQ .0941 -.0356 -.3254
Communication Apprehension PRCA -.7302** -.5552** -.4840*
Willingness-to-Communlcate WTC .7629** .3278 .3809
Self-esteem JFQ .4403* ' .3560 .2977
Self-esteem RSE .4006 .4240* .4083
Competence CCSR .6687** .7483** .5405**
Competence CBI .6274** .5272** .4181**
IW1 1 -tailed significance: J = .ul t- = .uul
Communicative Adaptability
The strongest relationship, although it is a weak correlation, with any
construct and cognitive complexity emerges with communicative adaptability at
/=-.3254 for the high-range, while neither low-range nor mid-range correlate at
all. Communication apprehension negatively correlates strongly for the low-
range, more moderately for mid-range, and weakly but still at the p<.01 level for
high-range cognitive complexity. Willingness-to-communicate has a strong
positive correlation for low-range, and weak correlations for mid-range and high-
range. The RSE measure of self-esteem correlates consistently near the p<.01
level across the three ranges, while the JFQ measure showed similar correlation
for the low-range and succeedingly weaker correlations for each of the next two
ranges. Communicative adaptability correlates at the p<.001 level with both of
the measures of communicative competence.
58


Third Round of Correlation
A third round of correlation considered the relationships between the
categories of male/female; Caucasian American (includes international students),
African American, Hispanic, Asian American, and American Indian; and, above
and below the median age of 22.5 year.
Female correlations (n=58) reflect the high quantity of significance of the
sample, with some variation, while the male correlations (n=38) do not. In
general, the female correlations are stronger than the male correlations. The
greater strengths are in the self-esteem, competence, and communicative
adaptability constructs.
Caucasian American (n=65) correlation most nearly reflects the sample.
Of the remainder of the ethnic categories, only Hispanic (n=18) aggregated
enough data to potentially render any useful trends.
The under-the-median age category (n=49) most nearly reflects the
sample in this series of correlations. The over-the-median age category (n=47)
surfaced considerably fewer significant correlations than did in the under-the-age
group. For the older group, communication adaptability accounts for
significance in both measures of competency, while all except cognitive
complexity is significant to the younger group on the CCSR measure.
In Summary
The three rounds of correlations presented several interesting
propositions: first, the absence of correlation of cognitive complexity and any of
59


the other variables; second, the dynamics of relationship between cognitive
complexity and several of the variables when considered from low-range, mid-
range, and high-range categories; and, the variability between female/male,
younger/older, and ethnic groups. Larger sample size would have enabled more
indepth analysis of these relationships and variabilities. Nevertheless, the
questions raised by these interesting propositions spur discussions both
confirming other research findings and pressing for further investigation as
discussed in the following chapter.
60


I
CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSION
Hundreds of studies have sleuthed out relationships between cognitive
complexity and numerous dependent variables in both the constructivist camp
and the human information processing domain. Androgyny (McMahan & Stacks,
1984), interpersonal attraction (Burleson & Denton, 1992), comprehension
(Housel, 1985), impression management (Applegate, 1982; Delia, 1972; OKeefe,
B. J., & Delia, 1979); perspective taking (Clark & Delia, 1977), and listener-
adapted communication (Hale, 1982) are just a few of the constructs used as
variables in this research.
Communicative competence of the student (Sahai, 1989), of peers
(Samter & Burleson, 1990) of managers (Sypher & Zorn, 1981) from self-
referenced and other-referenced reports (Spitzberg, 1987) continues to be
studied as defined by effectiveness and appropriateness (Morreale, 1992; Rubin,
1990; Spitzberg, 1988).
This research has focused primarily on cognitive complexity and
secondarily on communicative competence by examining each ones correlation
with communication apprehension, willingness-to-communicate, and self-esteem.
This has been accomplished by utilizing Pearsons product-moment correlation
61


to examine the relationships between and among constructs from data sets
provided by 96 student subjects, each responding to eight questionnaires.
At the most gross level of analysis, cognitive complexity did not correlate
with any of the dependent variables. When segmented into categories of low-
range scores, mid-range scores, and high-range scores, cognitive complexity
negatively correlated moderately with communicative adaptability in the high-
range. Several interesting dynamics surfaced in this second level of analysis.
The third phase of correlation between low-range, mid-range, and high-range
cognitive complexity and ethnicity, age, and gender provided slight evidence of
trends and directionality.
The most noteworthy contribution of this research is found in its design
and subsequent undertaking. Most of the statistical results produced in this
work are supported by like results across the scholarly literature. By extracting
data from previous research focused on other variables, some picture of the
relationships under study in this work could be construed. This effort, however,
has produced responses to a robust set of questions generated from a single set
of subjects from which to study the relationships of the constructs.
From the Scholarly Literature
In Clarks (1989) study of listening, willingness-to-communicate and
communication apprehension are significantly correlated (r=-0.538, p<.001), a
relationship closely replicated in this study (r= -0.5049, p<.00l). Rubin, Graham,
and Mignerey (1990) found significance at /?<.001 between the CSSR and the
62


PRCA over several administrations during four years in their longitudinal study of
college student communication competence confirming Rubins (1985) previous
findings. McCroskey and Richmond (1987) contended that both of these
constructs, and particularly willingness-to-communicate, "plays the central role in
determining an individuals communicative impact on others." Durans (1983)
original work on communicative adaptability as a measure of social
communicative competence investigated that constructs relationship to
communication apprehension and self-esteem. He found that these variables
comprised all of one of the five factors, accounting for 19% of the interpreted
variance.
Cognitive complexitys relationship with communication effectiveness at
the pc.05 level was reported by Clark and Delia (1977) in their study of
determinants of persuasive skills. Rubin and Henzl (1984) reported "only a small
to moderate (-.37, pc.01) relationship" between communication skill and the
PRCA, and that "communication competence and cognitive complexity were
unrelated (r=.15, ns)." In their seminal work, D. J. OKeefe and Sypher (1981)
discussed the relation of cognitive complexity to communication via regulative,
persuasive, and feeling-centered messages, and also included elements from
Harvey, Hunt, and Schroders conceptual systems theory. In most cases,
cognitive complexity was cast in terms of high and low levels of complexity, then
the variable of interest was operationalized, with analysis subsequently
comparing the relative results.
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From This Research Project
Communicative Competence
In this work, a contemporary definition of competence as effective and
appropriate, together with an instrument that has empirically operationalized that
definition, were adopted. Communication apprehension (r=-.4659, p<.001)
accounts for 21% of the variance, willingness-to-communicate (r=.3623, p<.001)
adds 13%, Janis and Fields self-esteem (/=.4349, r<.001) is responsible for
another 19%, and communication adaptability (/=.6315, /K.001) contributes 43%
of the variance in the Communication Competence Self Report. This
questionnaire, though a secondary choice behind its sister the Communication
Competence Assessment Instrument, has been proven (Rubin, 1985; Rubin,
Graham, & Mignerey, 1990) on its own account as well as on its correlation with
the CCAI, a widely used assessment tool.
This accountability of the CSSR may surface it as an instrument of choice
in situations where the resources required for the CCAI are not available. Its high
correlation with the PRCA, the WTC, and both measures of self-esteem make it a
candidate for replacement of those instruments as well.
The considerable contribution of communication adaptability may reopen
the question of the involvement of cognitive complexity in competence if this
operationalization were to correlate with human information processings
adaptability as measured by Shroders Paragraph Completion Test.
Morreales (1993) stated intention is for the CBI to correlate highly with
the PRCA and Rosenbergs measure of self-esteem. This intention was fulfilled.
64


The CBI is meant to replace the CCAI, or perhaps supplement it, in large group
assessment. By correlating highly with the CCSR, and by inference, with the
CCAI, the validity of this instrument is emerging.
Communication Apprehension. Willinaness-to-Communicate. and Self-Esteem
That this research confirms such significant correlation among these three
well-researched constructs lends validity to this work. While the strong
correlation (r=.6189, p<.001) between the two measures of self-esteem may
have been expected, some previous examinations of that relationship has not
reflected this strong relationship as the researchers considered the JFQ a trait
measure and the RSE a state measure (Heatherton & Polivy, 1991)
Cognitive Complexity
Many studies have addressed the difference between the behaviors of the
high and low cognitively complex subject. Most of those have administered the
RCQ, divided the proportional role score at the median, and then conducted their
manipulation of the independent variable. One of the most quoted studies
regarding the relation of cognitive complexity to communication effectiveness via
listener-adapted communication (Hale, 1982) relies on a eta of p<.10
recommended by Scheffe in The Analysis of Variance to produce 43% of the
variance, then comments it was "the one significant comparison involved" and
later that "other factors must be involved in differentiating" and "a more sensitive
65


instrument for the measurement of complexity would have produced a more
substantial relationship between complexity and effectiveness." Other studies
typically of university students in the N=40+ range use p<.05 and report
moderate results of /=.30.
The intention of a three part division of cognitive complexity was to clearly
differentiate the high-range from the low-range. However, the dynamics of the
activities of the mid-range by sex, ethnicity, and age was itself revealing. This
sample contained 18.8% Hispanic subjects as compared to 9.3% in the college
population, and of this number 50% are female, comprising 75% of the high-
range and mid-range scores. By gender, female N=58 or 60% of the population
and 83% of the high-range. Understanding the reasons for this distribution and
the effect on the overall cognitive complexity dynamic has intriguing possibilities
when considering the compounded effects of gender and ethnicity upon
communication apprehension and willingness-to-communicate.
Communicative Adaptability
Included in this research as a consideration toward a non-constructivist
framework, communicative adaptability has proven to provide the greatest
impact. Accounting for 42.6% of the variability of the CSSR, 23.2% of the
willingness-to-communicate, 39.6% of communication apprehension, and 12% of
self-esteem (JFQ) positions this construct as a major component in
communication competence.
66


Durans (1983) offer of communicative adaptability as a construct has
been accepted by Prisbell (1991) in his study of shyness and communicative
competence. He reported communicative adaptability as a main effect in
mitigating shyness and achieving competence.
Schroeder, Driver, and Streufert (1967) discuss in great detail their theory
of cognitive complexity as an expression of adaptability, and of adaption as a
major factor in the ability to effectively and appropriately (this studys definition of
competence) produce results.
Further research into any relationship between Durans communicative
adaptability and Schroeder et als adaption might provide a bridge between two
theoretical approaches to the construct of cognitive complexity.
A Model for Communicative Competence
Based in Communicative Adaptability
The anticipation of this study was to develop a model for communicative
competence based on cognitive complexity. What has emerged instead is a
model for communicative competence based on communicative adaptability.
Given the results of this study, communicative adaptability is a more powerful
predictor of communicative competence than any of the other constructs. Not
only does communicative adaptability significantly correlate at the p<.001 level
with each of the mid-range personality constructs, it correlates directly and
strongly with both self-report measures of communicative competence used in
this study.
67


Limitations of This Research Project
The usual limitations of working with communication student subjects
apply to this research. The Communication Department enrollment is usually
weighted to female, and to those facile in communication skills. In addition,
90% of this sample is comprised of day students, which skews the demographics
toward female ethnic populations.
The administration of eight questionnaires to the same group runs the risk
of fatiguing the subjects. Nearly half of the completed, usable sets were
obtained from two classes of students who spent their entire class period on
their responses in return for extra credit; therefore, these subjects may have been
even more subject to fatigue.
Resource considerations constrained the investigation of constructs
represented by subscores of the eight questionnaires. A study of the
dependence and interdependence of these constructs may have yielded another
level of understanding of the correlation between and among cognitive
complexity, the mid-range personality constructs, and communicative
competence.
Basing this entire study on the Role Category Questionnaire may have
limited an exhaustive review of the role of cognitive complexity. While the RCQ is
acknowledged by the constructivists as the best measure of the general arena of
cognitive complexity and specifically of the dimension of differentiation, it is also
acknowledged as limited in exploring other of the dimensions of cognitive
complexity.
68


Implications for Further Research
This study has provided far more questions than it has provided answers.
The obvious advantage of a consistent base of data from which to draw holds
inherent demands to be harvested fully. The issue of the dynamics of ethnicity
begs for investigation.
Understanding the properties of communication adaptability and its
relationship to the aspects of cognitive complexity (differentiation, abstraction,
comprehensiveness, organization, perspective-taking, and integration and
adaption) holds the possibility of broadening the scope of usefulness of cognitive
complexity research. In order to accomplish this end, the relationship among
and between Crocketts Role Category Questionnaire, Schroeders Paragraph
Completion Text, and Durans communicative adaptability must be understood.
This then is the challenge to contemporary researchers studying cognitive
complexity:
to unite the theoretical underpinnings of the constructivist theorists and
the human information processing theorists in order to provide a richer,
more robust understanding of the dimensions and dynamics of cognitive
complexity which will enable individuals to leash the full power of their
developing and expanding cognitive complexity to their own emerging
mastery of communicative competence.
69


APPENDIX
A. Role Category Questionnaire (RCQ).............................. 71
B. Personal Report of Communication Apprehension (PRCA-24)........ 72
C. Willingness to Communicate Scale (WTC)......................... 73
D. Feelings of Inadequacy Scale (JFQ) ............................ 73
E. Self-Esteem Scale (RSE)........................................ 74
F. Communicative Adaptability Scale (CA).......................... 75
G. Communication Competency Self Report (CCSR).................... 76
H. Communication Behaviors Instrument (CBI) ...................... 77
70


NAME____________________________________
SCHOOL__________________________________
CLASS___________TEACHER__________________
MALE___FEMALE___ AGE_____DATE___________
AFRO-AMERICAN___ASIAN____NATIVE AMERICAN
HISPANIC___WHITE____OTHER_______________
ROLE CATEGORY QUESTIONNAIRE
DIRECTIONS: The purpose of this questionnaire Is to gain an understanding of how Individuals think
about the people with whom they have relationships. The Interest here Is In learning how people
describe others whom they know. We are Interested In knowing, in your own words, the
characteristics which a pair of individuals have those characteristics which distinguish one person
off from another as an individual and those characteristics which individuals share In common.
The focus here is on the habits and mannerisms in general, with the personal characteristics,
rather than the physical traits which characterize a number of different people.
In order to facilitate your describing real people, please write the Initials, nicknames, or some other
identifying symbol for someone you know who fits Into each of the two categories below. Be sure
to use a different person for each category.
First: a person near your own age whom you like:
Then: a person also near your own age whom you dislike:___________________________________________________
It Is not necessary to select the one person you like the most or the least. Just select two
individuals about whom you are primarily positive and somewhat negative.
Now: spend a few minutes mentally comparing and contrasting the people you have listed for each
category. Think of their habits, their beliefs, their mannerisms, and the way they relate to others.
Think of any characteristic they have which you might use to describe them to other people.
If you have any questions about the kinds of characteristics we are interested in, please ask them.
Please remember this Is a description based on mannerisms, habits, and personal characteristics so
exclude physical characteristics such as tall, curly hair, small hands. Also exclude labels such as
brother, football player, niece, lawyer.
Please wait until instructed to go on to the next page of this questionnaire.
Now, think about the person you designated as fitting category 1. This Is the person that you know and
like or like more. Place the name or symbol you used to designate that person here:
Please describe this person as fully as you can. Write down as many defining characteristics as you
can. Please do not only put down those characteristics that make him or her unique, but include any
characteristics that Is shared In common with others. Pay particular attention to habits, beliefs,
ways of treating others, mannerisms, and similar attributes. Please describe this person as
completely as you can -- so that even a stranger might be able to determine the kind of person this Is
solely from your description of his or her personality traits.
You have five minutes to describe your person. You may use the back of the page as well as below,
If you need more room.
Please wait until Instructed to go on to the next page of this questionnaire.
Now. think about the person you designated as fitting category 2. This is the person that you know and
dislike or like less. Place the name or symbol you used to designate that person here:
Please describe this person as fully as you can. Write down as many defining characteristics as you
can. Please do not only put down those characteristics that make him or her unique, but Include any
characteristics that is shared in common with others. Pay particular attention to habits, beliefs,
ways of treating others, mannerisms, and similar attributes. Please describe this person as
completely as you can so that even a stranger might be able to determine the kind of person this Is
solely from your description of his or her personality traits.
You have five minutes to describe your person. You may use the back of the page as well as below,
if you need more room.


NAME___________________________________
SCHOOL_________________________________
CLASS___________TEACHER________________
MALE FEMALE_____ AGE_____DATE__________
AFRO-AMERICAN___ASIAN____NATIVE AMERICAN
HISPANIC___WHITE___.OTHER______________
PRCA-24
DIRECTIONS: This instrument is composed of 24 statements concerning your feelings about communication
with other people. Please Indicate by circling the appropriate number the degree to which each statement
applies to you by marking whether you (1) Strongly Agree, (2) Agree, (3) Are Undecided, (4) Disagree, or (5)
Strongly Disagree with each statement. There are no right or wrong answers. Many of the statements are
similar to other statements. Do not be concerned about this. Work quickly, just record your first impression.
strongly strongly
agree ipee undeoided dragee ciiagree
1. 1 dislike participating in group discussions. 1 2 3 4 5
2. Generally, I am comfortable while participating 1 in a group discussion. 2 3 4 5
3. I am tense and nervous while participating in 1 group discussions. 2 3 4 5
4. I like to get involved in group discussions. 1 2 3 4 5
5. Engaging in s group discussion with new people 1 makes me tense and nervous. 2 3 4 5
6. 1 am calm end relaxed while participating in group 1 discussions. 2 3 4 5
7. Generally, 1 am nervous when 1 have to participate 1 in a meeting. 2 3 4 5
e. Usually, I am calm and relaxed while participating 1 in meetings. 2 3 4 5
itrandy strongly
gee agree undeoided 9. 1 am very calm and relaxed when 1 am called upon 1 to egress an opinion at a meeting. 2 3 4 5
10. 1 am afraid to egress myself at meetings. 1 2 3 4 5
11. Communicating ot meetings usually makes me 1 uncomfortable. 2 3 4 5
12. 1 am very relaxed when answering questions at 1 a meeting. 2 3 4 5
13. While participating in a conversation with a new 1 acquaintance, 1 feel very nervous. 2 3 4 5
14. 1 have no fear of speaking up in conversations. 1 2 3 4 5
15. Ordinarily, I am very tense and nervous 1 in conversations. 2 3 4 5
16. Ordinarily, 1 am very calm and relaxed 1 in conversations. 2 3 4 5
17. While conversing with a new acquaintance, 1 I feel very relaxed. 2 3 4 5
16. I'm afraid to speak up in conversations. 1 2 3 4 5
19. I have no fear of giving a speech. 1 2 3 4 5
20. Certain parts of my body feel very tense 1 and rigid while giving a speech. 2 3 4 5
21. I feel relaxed while giving a speech. 1 2 3 4 5
22. My thoughts become confused and jumbled 1 when I am giving a speech. 2 3 4 5
23. I face the prospect of giving a speech 1 with confidence. 2 3 4 5
24. While giving a speech, 1 get so nervous 1 I forget facte I really know. 2 3 4 5
72


NAME
SCHOOL__________________________________
CLASS___________TEACHER_________________
MALE___FEMALE___ AGE_____DATE___________
AFRO-AMERICAN___ASIAN____NATIVE AMERICAN
HISPANIC___WHITE____OTHER_______________
W T C Scale
DIRECTIONS: Below are 20 situations In which a person might choose to communicate or not to
communicate. Presume that you have compieteiy free choice. Indicate the percentage of time you would
choose fo communicate in each type of situation. Indicate in the space at the right what percentage of the
time you would choose to communicate. Work quickly, just record your first impression.
0 = never, 100 always
1. Talk with a service station attendant. ________________
2. Talk with a physician. ________________
3. Present a talk to a group of strangers. ________________
4. Talk with an acquaintance while standing in line. ________________
5. Talk with a salesperson In a store. ________________
6. Talk In a large meeting of friends. ________________
7. Talk with a policeman/policewoman. ________________
8. Talk in a small group of strangers. ________________
9. Talk with a friend while standing in line. ________________
10. Talk with a waiter/waitress In a restaurant. ________________
11. Talk in a large meeting of acquaintances. ________________
12. Talk with a stranger while standing in line. ________________
13. Talk with a secretary. ________________
14. Present a talk to a group of friends. ________________
15. Talk In a small group of acquaintances. ________________
16. Talk with a garbage collector. ________________
17. Talk in a large meeting of strangers. ________________
18. Talk with a spouse (or girl/boyfriend). ________________
19. Talk In a small group of friends. ________________
20. Present a talk to a group of acquaintances. ________________
name____________________________________
SCHOOL__________________________________
CLASS____________TEACHER________________
MALE___FEMALE__ AGE______DATE___________
AFRO-AMERICAN___ASIAN___NATIVE AMERICAN
HISPANIC___WHITE____OTHER_______________
J F QUESTIONNAIRE
DIRECTIONS: This instrument Is composed of 22 statements. Please Indicate by circling the appropriate
umber the degree to which each statement applies to you by marking (1), (2), (3), (4), or (6) after each
statement. There are no right or wrong answers. Please select the best answer for you. Work quickly, just
record your first impression.
enoe
very fairty some in praotioalty
often often times Test while never
1. How often do you feel inferior to moat of tfte 1 people you know? 2 3 4 5
2. Do you ever think that you are e worthless 1 individual? 2 3 4 5
3. How confident do you feel that some day the people 1 you know will look up to you end respect you? 2 3 4 5
4. How ofton do you feel to blame for your mistakes? 1 2 3 4 5
5. Do you ever feel so discouraged with yotireeif that 1 you wonder v^tether anything is worthwhile? 2 3 4 5
6. How often do you feel that you dislike yourself? 1 2 3 4 5
very fairty slightly not very not at all
7. In general, how confident do you feel about your 1 abilities? 2 3 4 5
0. How often do you have the feeling that there ie 1 nothing you cen do well? Z 3 4 5
9. How much do you worry about how well you got 1 along with other people? 2 3 4 6
73


gnte
very fairty some in a praotioetty
often often times greet while never
10. How often do you worry about criticisms that might 1 be made of your work by whoever is responsible for checking up on your work? 2 3 4 5
11. Do you ever feel afraid or anxious when you are 1 going into a room by yourself where other people have already gathered and are talking? 2 3 4 5
12. How often do you feel self-conscious? 1 2 3 4 5
very fairty slightly net very net at all
13. When you have to talk in front of a dess or a group 1 of people your own age, how afraid or worried do you usually feel? 2 3 4 6
14. When you are trying to wan in e game or a sport and 1 you know that other people are watching you, how rattled or flustered do you get? 2 3 4 6
15. How much do you worry about whether other people 1 will regard you as a success or a failure in your job or career? 2 3 4 onoe S
very fairty some in a praedoally
often often times peat While never
16. When in a group of people, do you have trouble 1 thinking of the right things to talk about? 2 3 4 5
very fairty slightly net very not at all
17. When you have mode an embarrassing mistake or 1 have done something that makes you look foolish how long do you usually keep on worrying about it? 2 3 4 5
16. Do you find it hard to make talk when you meet new 1 people? 2 3 4 onoe 5
very fairly some in a praotioany
often often times peat while never
19. How often do you worry about whether other people 1 like to be with you? 2 3 4 S
very fairty sli^itty net very net at all
20. How often are you troubled by ehyness7 1 2 3 4 5
21. When you ere trying to convince other people who 1 disagree with your ideas, how worried do you usually feel about the impression you are seeking? 2 3 4 5
22. When you think about the possibility that somo of 1 your friends or acquaintances might not hove a good opinion 2 3 4 5
of you, how concerned or worried do you fool about it?
NAME____________________________________
SCHOOL__________________________________
CLASS___________TEACHER_________________
MALE___FEMALE___ AGE_____DATE___________
AFRO-AMERICAN___ASIAN____NATIVE AMERICAN
HISPANIC___WHfTE____OTHER_______________
RSE Scale
DIRECTIONS: This page ia composed of 10 statements concerning your feelings about yourself and other
people. Please Indicate by circling the appropriate number the degree to which each statement applies to
you by meriting whether you (1) Strongly Agree, (2) Agree, (3) Disagree, or (4) Strongly Disagree with each
statement. There are no right or wrong answers. Many of the statements are similar to other statements.
Do not be concerned about this. Work quickly. Just record your first Impression.
dbapee dfoapee
1. I feel that I'm a person of worth, at least on an
equal basis with others.
2. I feel that I have a number of good qualities.
3. All in all, I am inclined to feel that I am a
failure.
4. I am able to do things as well ee most other people.
5. I feel I do not have much to be proud of.
6. I take a positive attitude toward myself.
7. On the whole, I am satisfied with myself.
6. I wish I could have more respect for myself.
9. I certainly feel useless at times.
At times I think that I am no good at ell.
strongly strongly
pee apee
12 3 4
12 3 4
12 3 4
12 3 4
12 3 4
12 3 4
12 3 4
12 3 4
12 3 4
10.
2
3


NAME____________________________________
SCHOOL_________________________________
CLASS___________TEACHER________________
MALE___FEMALE___ AGE____OATE___________
AFRO-AMERICAN___ASIAN___NATIVE AMERICAN
HISPANIC___WHfTE____OTHER______________"
C A Scale
DIRECTIONS: This instrument is composed of 30 statements oonoemmg eommunio stive behavior. Please answer eaoh item as K
relates to your general style of oommuniostian (the type of oommuniestar your ore most often] in sooial situations. Indfoate by oiraling
the appropriate number the degree to whieh eaoh statement applies to you ty marking whether it is (1 ] Never true of me. (21 Rarely
true of me, (3) Sometimes true of me, (4) Often true of me, or (6) Always true of me. There are no ri(£it or wrong answers. Many of
the statements are similar to other statements. Do not be oonoemed about this. Weak cpiiokly, just reoord your first impression.
never true of me rarely true of me sometimes true of me often true of me always true of me
1. 1 feel nervous in oociel situations. 1 2 3 4 5
2. In most social situations 1 feel tense and constrained. 1 2 3 4 5
3. When talking, my posture Deems awkward end tonoo. 1 2 3 4 5
4. My voice sounds nervous when 1 talk with others. 1 2 3 4 6
5. 1 am relaxed when talking with others. 1 2 3 4 5
6. 1 try to make the other person feel good. 1 2 3 4 5
7. 1 try to make the other person feel important. 1 2 3 4 5
e. 1 try to be warm when communicating with another. never true of me 1 rarely true of me 2 sometimes true of me 3 often true of me 4 alway true of me S
9. When I'm talking 1 think about how the other person feels. 1 2 3 4 5
10. 1 am verbally and nonverbally supportive 1 2 3 4 5
of other people.
11. 1 like to be activo in different social (poops. 1 2 3 4 5
12. 1 enjoy socializing with various groups of people. 1 2 3 4 5
13. 1 enjoy meeting new people. 1 2 3 4 5
14. 1 find it easy to got along with new people. 1 2 3 4 5
15. 1 do not mix* well at social functions. 1 2 3 4 5
16. 1 am aware of how intimate my disclosures are. 1 2 3 4 5
17. 1 am aware of how intimate the disclosures of othore are. 1 2 3 4 5
16. 1 diocloae at the same level that others disclose to me. 1 2 3 4 5
19. 1 know how appropriate my aetf-dfoclosures are. 1 2 3 4 5
20. When 1 eelf-dioclose 1 know what 1 am revealing. 1 2 3 4 5
21. When speaking, 1 have problems with grammar. 1 2 3 4 5
22. At times 1 don't use appropriate verb tense. 1 never true of me 2 rarefy true of me 3 sometimes true of me 4 often true of me 5 always true of me
23. 1 sometimes use one word when 1 mean to use another. 1 2 3 4 5
24. ( sometimes use words incorrectly. 1 2 3 4 5
25. 1 have difficulty pronouncing some words. 1 2 3 4 5
26. When 1 am amdous, 1 often use wit. 1 2 3 4 5
27. 1 often make jokes when in tense situations. 1 2 3 4 5
28. When 1 embarrass myself 1 often make a joke about it. 1 2 3 4 5
29. When someone makes a negative comment about me 1 respond with s witty comeback. 1 2 3 4 5
30. People think 1 am witty. 1 2 3 4 5


NAME___________________________________
SCHOOL_________________________________
CLASS___________TEACHER________________
MALE___FEMALE___ AGE____DATE___________
AFRO-AMERICAN___ASIAN___NATIVE AMERICAN
HISPANIC___WHITE____OTHER______________
C C S R Scslo
DIRECTIONS: This instrument Is composed of 19 statements concerning your communication with other
people. Please indicate how each statement reflects your own communication behavior by circling the
appropriate number (1) Always, (2) Usually, (3) Sometimes, (4) Seldom, or (6) Never for each statement.
There are no right or wrong answers. Many of the statements are similar to other statements. Do not be
concerned about this. Work quickly, just record your first Impression.
some
always usually times seldom never
1. 1 mispronounce a lot of words. 1 2 3 4 5
2. When speaking with someone, the words 1 1 use say one thing while my face and tone of voice say something different. 2 3 4 5
3. When giving a speech, I speak clearly and 1 distinctly. 2 3 4 5
4. When giving a speech, I can be persuasive whon 1 f want to be. 2 3 4 5
S. When 1 speak with others, my ideas are clearly 1 and concisely presented. 2 3 4 5
6. When giving a speech, 1 thoroughly express and 1 fully defend my positions on issues. 2 3 4 5
7. 1 am unable to tell whether or not someone 1 has understood v/iat 1 have said. 2 3 4 5
e. 1 know when I'm hearing a fact and when I'm 1 hearing eomeone'e personal opinion. 2 3 4 S
76
ame
always usually times seldom never
9. When professors make suggestions in class on 1 how 1 can improve, 1 understood the suggestions. 2 3 4 5
10. 1 understand the assignments that are given 1 orally in dess. 2 3 4 5
11. When 1 tell othere about a class lecture I've 1 heard, my version leaves out some important items. 2 3 4 5
12. When I have to introduce myself in a class, 1 am 1 able to fully and concisely describe my interests end lot others know who I am. 2 3 4 6
13. When speaking with others, I have to esk e 1 question several times, in several ways, to get the information I want. 2 3 4 5
14. 1 have to answer a question several times before 1 others eoem satisfied with my answer. 2 3 4 6
15. 1 find it difficult to erqHeso my satisfaction or dissatisfaction about a course to the professor. 1 2 3 4 5
16. Whon 1 explain something to someone, it tends 1 to be disorganized. 2 3 4 S
17. When I give directions to another person, the 1 directions are accurate. 2 3 4 5
10. When I try to describe someone eloe'o point of 1 view, I have trouble getting it right. 2 3 4 5
19. 1 am able to give a balanced explanation of 1 differing opinions. 2 3 4 5


NAME___________________________________
SCHOOL_____________I.D. #______________
CLASS___________TEACHER________________
MALE___FEMALE AGE________DATE__________
AFRO-AMERICAN___ASIAN___NATIVE AMERICAN
HISPANIC___WHITE____OTHER______________
C B 1 QUESTIONNAIRE
INSTRUCTIONS: Students like you have identified a number of communication problems they
have encountered while attending four-year academic institutions. For each of these problems
students have indicated how they would respond. In the pages that follow, you will find 26
of these potential problem situations. Each situation is followed by a set of possible responses
a person could take. What we would like you to do is indicate, on a one to seven scale, how
likely you would be to respond to each situation with the listed behaviors. On the extreme end
of the scale, aT would indicate that you definitely would respond with the listed behavior and
a 7" would indicate that you definitely would not respond with the listed behavior.
This is not a test and there are no right or wrong answers. It is important, however, that
you honestly indicate how you would or would not respond for every listed behavior.
Thank you for your assistance.
/. PUBUC SPEAK!NG/PRESENTATION SKILLS
Problem A. When / have to pull together thoughts and ideas and prepare material for a speech, I:
1. Rehearse
2. Interview a professional on the topic
3. Practice and get feedback from friende/family
4. Tape-record my speech
5. Just do itl
Definitely Don't Definitely
would do know would not do
2 3 4 5 6 7
2 3 4 5 6 7
2 3 4 5 6 7
2 3 4 5 6 7
2 3 4 5 6 7
Problem B. In order to instill self-confidence and therefore present a better speech, I:
Definitely
would
Don't
know
Definitely
would not do
6. Use humor 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
7. Go and look up more information 1 2 3 4 6 6 7
8. Discuss subject with other people/amall group 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
9. Practice in front of a mirror 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
10. Imagine audience as 'naked* 1 2 3 4 6 6 7
11. Worry about what I'm doing 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
12. Am not sure, no idea what to do 1 2 3 4 6 6 7
//. ANXIETY
Problem A. In order to control anxiety during the beginning moments of a speech as the topic is
introduced to the audience, I:
Definitely Dont
would do know
13. Dress right
14. Am wet! prepared
15. Use stress relieving technique
16. Breathe deeply
17. Drink water
16. Pause
19. Concentrate on thinking
20. Use meditation
21. Use visualization
22. Tell a joke
23. Keep going
24. Slow down
25. Get to know the audience
26. Ask the audience questions
27. Make eye contact
2 3
2 3
2 3
2 3
2 3
2 3
2 3
2 3
2 3
2 3
2 3
2 3
2 3
2 3
2 3
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
6
6
6
6
6
Definitely
would not do
7
7
7
7
7
7
7
7
7
7
7
7
7
7
7
4


Problem B. In order to control physiological changes associated with the anxiety induced by speaking in
front of large groups fi.e. feeling faint, shaky knees, shortness of breath), I:
28. Moke eye contact
29. Try to relax
30. Use positive self-talk 'nothing bad will happen*
31. Stop speaking for a few seconds
32. Have good notes
33. Control breathing breathe deeply
34. Use humor
35. Visualize self as an excellent, confident speaker
30. Prepare property ahead of time
37. Take my time and don't hurry
38. Concentrate on what I'm doing
Definitely Don't Definitely
would do know would not do
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 2 3 4 6 6 7
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 2 3 4 5 8 7
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 2 3 4 S 6 7
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
III. UNKING
Problem A. If / feel a lack of belonging and isolation from others on a commuter campus, I:
39. Maintain friends outside of school Definitely would do 1 2 3 Don't know 4 5 6 Definitely would net do 7
40. Look to other students for advice on places to be 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
41. Get involved in Student Government 1 2 3 4 6 6 7
42. Be open to others Self disclosure 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
43. Get to know other classmates 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
45. Plan study groups or projects with other students 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
46. Ask questions of other peoplo 1 2 3 4 5 8 7
Problem B. When communicating with persons who are different in age, gender, ethnicity, or lifestyle, I:
Definitely
would do
Don't Definitely
know would not do
47. Introduce myself to them 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
48. It's all altitudinal; requires initiative 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
49. Try to understand their perspective 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
50. Join ethnic clubs 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
51. Take a class on different cultures 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
52. Find common ground could even be a class together 1 2 3 4 6 6 7
53. Show interest in them ask questions 1 2 3 4 5 8 7
54. Self disclose 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Problem C. When establishing rapport with individuals of unfamiliar culture and possibly a language barrier, I:
Definitely Don't Definitely
would do know would not do
55. Smile 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
66. Try to get to know them and their culture 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
57. Participate in an activity with them experiential 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
58. Use body language Universal sign language 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
59. Show them I am interested in them 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
60. Am open and friendly receptive 1 2 3 4 5 8 7
IV. CONFRONTATION
Problem A. When I Find it difficult to disagree or give dissenting opinion in class discussion. 1:
Definitely Don't Definitely
would do know would not do
61. Just speak out because others probably are thinking the same thing 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
62. Depending on how important the issue is, maybe keep quiet. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
63. Feel out the professor to see if it's worth saying anything 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
64. Listen to others 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Problem B. When communicating to friends who are part of a group that they have caused a problem, I:
Definitely Don't Definitely
would do know would not do
65. Talk to other members of the group about the problem 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
66. Kick them cut of the group 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
V. INITIATIVE
Problem A When approaching unknown others and striking up conversations in a social setting, /:
Definitely Don't Definitely
would do know would not do
67. Ask around to aee if someone knows them end establish my opening lines 1 2 3 4 6 6 7
68. Small talk the weather, something they are wearing, compliment them 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
69. Smile and say hallo 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
70. Walk over and introduce myself 1 2 3 4 6 6 7


VI. SELF-ESTEEM
Problem A. When introducing myself on the first day of class, /:
Definitely Don't Definitely
would do know would not do
71. Just give my name and major 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
72. Wouldn't want to do it on the first day, 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
wait until I get comfortable in class
73. Grin and bear it 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
74. Start with *l hate this* and keep it short 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
75. Try to relax 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
VII. SELF-MOTIVATION
Problem A. When taking the first steps to apply for a desired job, 1:
Definitely Don't Definitely
would do know would not do
76. Phone the company make an appointment for 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
an interview
77. Go down and apply in person 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
78. Find out who does the hiring and talk to them 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
79. Research the company go in with some knowledge 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
60. Contact someone who has experience in this 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
po8ition/company
81. Dress nicely 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
82. Be polite 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
V///. SELF-CONFIDENCE
Problem A. When taking on leadership roles in small groups, 1:
Definitely Don't Definitely
would know would not do
83. Try to understand (and clarify) everyone's 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
responsibilities
64. Look at other member's skills and go from there 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
65. Blow off the responsibility 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
66. Create ateam* environment 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
67. Bicit group participation get everyone involved 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
66. Get to know the members and their personalities 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
69. Facilitate good communication 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
90. Establish guidelines 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
91. Refuse the role 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
IX. COMMUNICATION WITH PROFESSORS
Problem A. When asking questions regarding material covered in class. 1:
Definitely Don't Definitely
would do know would not do
92. Ask professor during class 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
93. See professor outside of class individually 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
94. Would talk to professor after class 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
95. Sit in front of the class 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
96. Let it "go* 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Problem B. When approaching professors to question a grade on a paper or test. /:
Definitely Don't Definitely
- would do know would not do
97. Talk to professor after class 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
96. Compare grades with other students 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
99. Make an appointment with professor 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
100. Do nothing 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
101. Go seethe Dean 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
102. Drop the class 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
103. Cry about it 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
104. Go to the head of the department 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Problem C. When approaching the professor for assistance in a class in which I am experiencing difficulty, I:
Definitely Don't Definitely
would do know would not do
105. Talk with classmates 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
106. Ask professor after class for help 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
107. Go to the professor's office 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
106. Get a tutor 1 2 3 4 5 6 7


109. Spend more time studying 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
110. Do nothing 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
111. Drop the class 1 2 3 4 5 8- 7
112. Take an incomplete' 1 2 3 4 S 8 7
Problem D. When asking a question a second time when / am not satisfied with the first answer to the
question, 1: Definitely Dont Definitely
would do know would not do
113. Ask fellow students 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
114. Go to the professor privately 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
115. Would rephrase the question 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
116. Get a tutor 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
117. Seek help from another professor 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
118. Do my own research on the question 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Problem £. When availability of professors is a problem, / Definitely Don't Definitely
would do know would not do
119. Cell and arrange time 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
120. Turn to fellow classmates 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
121. Drop class 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
122. Call in evening and arrange time 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
123. Ask employer to reschedule work hours 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
X. COMMUNICATION WITH SYSTEM/ADMINISTRATION
Problem A. When communicating assertively with staff and personnel on the campus regarding problematic situations 1:
Definitely Don't Definitely
would do know would not do
124. Talk to appropriate source for the problem 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
125. Get exact problems on paper arrange possible solutions ahead of time 1 2 a 4 5 6 7
128. Am careful not to be rude or aggressive 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
80
Problem B. When acknowledging errors or points of confusion with staff or personnel, I:
127. Must make an effort to speak up
128. Take the problem to the person or staff member
if not satisfied, then go higher up
129. Stay calm discussing the problem, rather
than putting the person down
130. Present my side of the argument go higher
up if that doesn't work
131. Feel that losing my temper as s result of
frustration will not help
132. Become defensive if there is an error or confusion
is not recognized
133. Talk with a counselor
Definitely Don't Definitely
would do know would not do
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Problem C.
needs, I:
135.
136.
137.
138.
Problem D.
140.
141.
142.
144.
145.
146.
When communicating assertively with faculty and staff in order to satisfy personal/academic.
Definitely
would do
Don't Definitely
know would not do
Make an appointment with the professor
Egress concern to advisor
Talk to the appropriate source for my particular needs
Try not to be afraid to ask questions and pursue the issue
Am rude to get someone to listen to me
2 3 4 5 6 7
2 3 4 5 6 7
2 3 4 5 6 7
2 3 4 5 6 7
2 3 4 5 6 7
When I encounter inaccurate and lack of information from advising and financial aid, I:
Definitely
would do
Don't Definitely
know would not do
Voice concerns to the business deportment about
financial information
Clarify or restate the information received
Don't assume I understand check it out verbally
Try to get flyers and information ahead of time
Take the initiative to take care of myself by
finding out information ahead and not expect all
of it to be given to me
Lose temper because of frustration
Find a Afferent source of information
Find oomeone off campus to get the information from
2 3 4 5 6
2 3 4 5 6
2 3 4 5 6
2 3 4 5 6
2 3 4 5 6
2 3 4 5 6
2 3 4 5 6
2 3 4 5 6
7


XL INTERPERSONAL CONFUCT
Problem A. When handling interpersonal conflict with significant others, I:
147. Try to talk more
146. Don't be controlling
149. Don't bring up conflict situations from the past
150. Don't lot anyone get tn the way of trying to work
things out
151. Withdraw from conflict situations
152. Go to counseling to learn how to better
communiceto more effectively
153. DiscusB and try to understand another point of view
Definitely Don't Definitely
would do know would not do
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 2 3 4 S 6 7
1 2 3 4 6 6 7
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Problem B. When managing conflict problems with family and friends, I:
Definitely
would do
Don't
know
Definitely
would not do
154. Read about conflict management 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
155. Try to understand their position 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
156. Am not narrow-minded 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
157. Talk it out 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
156. Get conflict out in the open 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Problem C. When I must be honest and direct, but tactful at the same time, I:
Definitely Don't
would do know
Definitely
would net do
159. Talk about the problem, but have concern for
other's feelings
160. Don't lie, but don't avoid
161. Am not eo honest that I hurt the other person
162. Watch the words I am using
163. Don't avoid what really needs to be discussed
164. Censure myself, but not eo much that the
message is lost
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
7
7
7
7
7
XU. PERSONAUTY CONFUCT
Problem A. When / must maintain objectivity when working with someone / don't like, I:
Definitely
would do
Don't Definitely
know would not do
165. Focus on the goal 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
166. Make effort not to concentrate on personal ddikes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
167. Try to find something 1 like about the person 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
168. Avoid extra interaction with that person other than what'e necessary. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
169. Keep feelings separate and out of the work situation 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
170. Try to be nice 1 2 3 4 5 6 7


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