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Most Underappreciated50 Prominent Social Psychologists Describe Their Most Unloved Work$
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Robert Arkin

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199778188

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199778188.001.0001

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Dynamic Complexity Theory

Dynamic Complexity Theory

Eclipsed by a Revolution

Chapter:
(p.101) Dynamic Complexity Theory
Source:
Most Underappreciated
Author(s):

Delroy L. Paulhus

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199778188.003.0020

Delroy L. Paulhus describes his most underappreciated work: his dynamic complexity theory. He explains how ideas on cognitive complexity inspired him to develop a broader theory of personality, focusing in particular on the association between person perception and decision behavior. He then elaborates on the five propositions of his dynamic complexity theory: emotional stressors tend to reduce the cognitive complexity of interpersonal perceptions; the ordering of these reductions is such that evaluation and potency become more salient; the effects of stress are mediated by arousal that precedes the processing of other information; the enhanced role of evaluation and potency act to protect the individual from the threat; individual differences in trait complexity moderate the changes in complexity, and therefore the effectiveness of the threat. He also discusses the distinction between automatic and controlled processing in mainstream social psychology.

Keywords:   Delroy L. Paulhus, dynamic complexity theory, cognitive complexity, theory of personality, perception, decision behavior, stress, automatic processing, controlled processing, social psychology

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