Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


This study examined the effect of the personality construct of cognitive rigidity/flexibility on critical decision - making behaviors. The specific behaviors were planning, scanning, and verification of information prior to and subsequent to making a decision. The effect of rigidity/flexibility on decision-making was studied under two conditions of information availability about the decision task. The two conditions were "without" and "with" information. The two conditions were designed to create either a well- or ill-defined situation for the subjects’ performance was measured in terms of quality of decision, number of strategies used, and speed of decision-making. Measurements were also made of time spent searching for information and time spent verifying the correctness of the decision. It was hypothesized that Rigid subjects would be more susceptible to perceptual and cognitive set or ideation perseveration. This was expected to lead to poor performance relative to Flexibles in the Ill-defined condition. However, in the Well-defined condition it was expected that the rigid subjects would more readily accept the set provided by the task instructions and perform better than the Flexibles. The chronometric measures all proved to be in significant. The discussion addresses the weaknesses of the chronometric method in measuring the type of cognitive activity critical to this study. Recommendations for future research are discussed. Significant differences between the number of decision strategies used in the ill-defined condition were found as expected.


Robert Markley

Date of Award

Fall 1986

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1986 Eugene P. O'Brien


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