Cognitive control, psychological defense and learning under conflict
Hassol, Leonard Jack
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This study investigates the nature of a relationship postulated between cognitive behavior under conditions of conflict arousal and certain coping processes of personality. A review of theoretical and experimental studies concerned with the effects on cognition of motivational states in relation with various types of stimulus situations finds consensus concerning the presence or absence of conflict as a determining influence. When conflict is absent cognition is not interfered with; when conflict is present inhibition occurs. Two variables - cognitive control and psychological defense - have been used to account for the effects of drive arousal upon cognitive behavior under conditions of conflict relevant to the drive state. Cognitive control has been defined by varying capacities to make differentially adaptive responses to specified aspects of stimulus fields in the presence of explicitly interfering cues. Defense - either repression or intellectualization - has been defined by varying capacities to recall stimulus material presumed to arouse conflictual drive states. The present study utilizes both experimental variables to account more precisely for the effects of motivational conditions upon cognitive behavior in situations requiring resolution of conflict. Conflict is defined by the presence of competing response tendencies having varying probabilities of occurrence. [TRUNCATED]
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University.