Differences in group problem-solving behavior and effectiveness as a function of abstractness

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Classes of undergraduates and classes of graduate management students who were experienced managers were administered the O'Connor Abstractness Orientation Scale, a structural cognitive style measure. The 5 highest and lowest scorers in each of 20 class sections were assigned to abstract and concrete problem-solving groups, respectively. Concrete groups required almost twice as long as abstract groups to complete the assigned task (p ≤ .001). Compared to concrete groups, abstract group Ss interacted at a faster pace and demonstrated better cue utilization (p ≤ .001). No differences were found between undergraduate and graduate groups. Results are consistent with findings from prior research on concreteness-abstractness or cognitive complexity. (40 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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