Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology


Clinical Psychology



First Advisor

Henry B. Biller


The present study addressed the possibility that cognitive-complexity (Bieri, et al., 1966) relates to the

relative breadth with which clinical psychology students assess relevant contributions to psychology. A Q sort measure of view of psychology was devised using the names of 30 contributors to clinical and 30 contributors to nonclinical psychology. It was proposed that clinical psychology students with a narrow view of psychology would place greater emphasis upon clinical contributors, and that this tendency would be positively correlated with their level of cognitive-complexity. Secondly, it was hypothesized that there are not sex differences in cognitive-complexity, and that measures of complexity using positive role categories differ from those using negative role categories.

Sixty clinical psychology graduate students in three APA approved programs served as Ss. An experimental and a control condition were used, and Ss were randomly assigned to these.

All hypotheses were supported, although the major hypothesis was only substantiated for males. Among males it was found that higher cognitive-complexity was associated with a broader view of psychology, while highly complex females tended to have a narrower view. As a group, males were found to have a broader view of psychology than did females. Sex differences in cognitive-complexity were not seen. Measures of cognitive-complexity using positive versus negative role types were found to differ, with a higher degree of complexity seen when subjects rated negative role types.



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