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Unformatted text preview: Complexity ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● Integrative Complexity is a framework for evaluating written documents It was developed by Peter Seudfeld at UBC This is my version of integrative complexity, adopted from Peter Seudfeld's but focused on helping students to write better for university The original version of Integrative complexity is available at ○ ○ Original material copied from this web site is printed here in blue Integrative complexity is a measure of the intellectual style used by individuals or groups in processing information, problem solving, and decision ­making. Complexity looks at the structure of one's thoughts, while ignoring the contents. It is scorable from almost any verbal materials: books, articles, fiction, letters, speeches and speech transcripts, video and audio tapes, and interviews. Complexity has two components, differentiation and integration. ○ Differentiation refers to the perception of different perspectives when considering an issue. ○ Integration refers to the recognition of cognitive connections among differentiated perspectives. Used to research factors that affect complex thinking ○ personal style ○ stress ○ social situation used to look at the effect of complexity on real world decisions ○ historical documents are scored and compared ■ general finding – complexity associated with positive outcomes Example ○ from: ○ “Red dots indicate the integrative complexity of United Arab Republic (combined data from Egypt and Syria), while black solid lines indicate the complexity of speeches made by Israeli representatives. Data was obtained by analysing various speeches made in the UN General Assembly and Security Council. Dates of major conflict are emphasized in Blue” 1948  "The combined Arab attack on the newly established State of Israel." 1956  "The Anglo French Israeli invasion of the Suez Canal zone." 1967  "The Six Day War." 1973  "The October War." • Seudfeld’s Integrative Complexity scoring scheme has 7 levels • For university you should ideally write at level 5 or above • The following are excerpts from the Integrative Complexity scoring manual, describing scoring up to level 5: SCORE OF 1 General Explanation There is no sign of either conceptual differentiation or integration at this scoring level. The author relies, without qualification, on a simple, one ­dimensional rule for interpreting events or making choices. Critical Indicator Only one way of looking at the world is considered legitimate. The author either implies or explicitly states that there is one and only one reasonable approach to an issue. This position is typically expressed in the form of an absolute or categorical rule. These absolute rules are often, although not necessarily always, highly evaluative (e.g., Only an immoral imbecile would believe...). The end result of the application of an absolute rule is, however, always the same: the imposition of a dichotomous category structure (right vs. wrong, socialist vs. capitalist, determinism vs. free will) on the world, with little or no room for ambiguity or shades of gray. Specific Indicators There are numerous specific indicators of an integratively simple rule structure. Although not all of these indicators need to be present in any given passage, at least one of these indicators is usually present to justify assigning a scale value of 1 to a passage. 1. Compartmentalization A common characteristic of a score of 1 is the evaluation of stimuli in an all ­or ­none fashion, without consideration of possible exceptions to, or qualifications of, the evaluative rule. Information is rigidly compartmentalized and, depending on the compartment into which it has been placed, included or excluded from consideration. (a) Categorical rejection of perspectives or dimensions The author implicitly or explicitly denies that reasonable others could disagree, or that an issue has aspects or dimensions that the author has not considered. Note that the author may go on at great length and provide detailed descriptions, explanations or examples of the preferred rule. This additional content does not, however, justify a higher score. The author is elaborating on a dominant theme, not introducing alternative perspectives or dimensions. The real reason why we are not competing effectively with the Japanese is the erosion of the work ethic in America. American workers do not take as much pride as they used to in the products they create in the plants and factories of this country. We hear too many stories of sloppy workmanship, absenteeism, drug addiction, alcoholism and bad morale on the production lines and in the ranks of management. We won’t be able to compete effectively until we regain the old fashioned sense of pride in a job well done. Anyone who tells you something different just doesn’t understand the world of business. One form of rejecting alternative perspectives or dimensions is to deny the existence of value trade ­offs. The author implicitly or explicitly denies that an issue requires making difficult choices that involve sacrificing one value or set of interests in order to satisfy another value or set of interests. Abortion is cold blooded murder. There is no possible justification for this barbaric act. Abortion threatens the moral and Christian character of this nation. There is no civil right to murder oneÕs children. Take action now. Support this constitutional amendment to end the slaughter of innocents. (b) Setting up and knocking down a straw man The author acknowledges the existence of different ways of looking at the world but dismisses them without serious consideration or qualification. This type of pseudo ­ differentiation often takes the form of setting up and then immediately knocking down a straw man position. The Reagan administration wants the world to believe that the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) is purely a research program motivated by the noblest of motives, namely to make the world safe from the specter of nuclear war. In promoting this ridiculous fiction, the Reagan administration is testing the gullibility of world opinion. No serious observer of the nuclear balance of terror doubts that the SDI is the first step toward a global ballistic missile defense system Ð a blatant bid for nuclear hegemony by the United States. argumentum ad hominem fits here too – deny the validity of a point of view by attacking the character of the person who espouses it (c) Overly simple inclusion exclusion rules People frequently rely on inclusion ­exclusion rules in processing social information. These rules take the following logical form: If X then Y, and if not X then not Y. 2. Dominance of a Single Evaluative Rule Many statements distinguish a variety of specific issues or events, only to lump these issues or events together in a single overall evaluative category. The value judgments of the author permeate and dominate the discussion of specifics. Evaluative dominance of this sort can take many forms: lengthy lists of the costs of rejected options and the benefits of preferred options, protracted discussion of the vices of one’s opponents and the virtues of one’s allies (My opponent is an opportunistic, deceitful, and malicious rascal; Comrade Brezhnev has selflessly, thoughtfully, and courageously guided our Party through many difficult times.) 3. Conflict or complexity avoidance Cognitive strategies such as compartmentalization, isolation of alternatives, and discounting of alternative perspectives facilitate the avoidance or reduction of ambiguity, complexity, and confIict. This function of integratively simple processing strategies is sometimes plainly stated in the text. Interpretation of the Scriptures must not be left to the judgments of the individual theologian. Only by subjecting individual judgment to institutional discipline can we avoid a hopeless proliferation of perspectives and ultimate destruction of the authority of the Church. 4. Over Generalizations The author offers far ­reaching advice on how people should think, feel, or act, with no recognition that this advice might need to be qualified in particular circumstances or that following this advice too closely or single ­mindedly might have serious costs. Women should always obtain an education before deciding whether or not to have babies. Women should go to school and then apply for jobs. There are plenty of things to do in the world. NOTE: Content Flags Absolutely, all, always, certainly, constantly, convinced, definitely, entirely, forever, impossible, indisputable, irrefutable, irreversible, never, solely, surely, unconditionally, undoubtedly, unquestionably. Prototypical Example of a Score of 1 A prototypical example is included as an illustration of how the indicators described above may occur within a single passage. A prototypical example will be given for each scoring level; the examples will show how structure can vary within the same issue. Enforced retirement at 65 years is most certainly beneficial to the workings of our society. We must realize that work is the job of the young, and that the elderly should leave their work positions in order to make room for the next generation. The elderly must resign themselves to let go of their family domination and employment in order that the new generation may explore its ideas and promote growth. Some would argue that the elderly have much to contribute because they have lived through so much, but this is clearly wrong. With the rapid rate of technological change, the elderly are the least able to adapt to the new conditions. SCORE OF 2 Critical Indicator The critical indicator for a score of 2 is the potential or conditional acceptance of different perspectives or dimensions. The author does not explicitly develop the alternate dimension or perspective; nor is it necessary that it be explicitly stated or named. SCORE OF 3 Critical Indicator The critical indicator for a score of 3 is the recognition of alternative perspectives or different dimensions, and the acceptance of these as being relevant, legitimate, justifiable, valid, etc. Specific Indicators At least one of the following indicators is usually evident for a score of 3. 1. Multiple Alternatives (a) Multiple perspectives One form of differentiation involves recognizing that reasonable persons can view the same problem or issue in different ways (the truth is not all on one side). Although the speaker may hold one viewpoint, he or she recognizes that others disagree and feels no need to disparage those who disagree. (b) Multiple dimensions Differentiation can also take the form of recognizing more than one dimension of an event, situation, issue, person or object. 2. Alternatives and Conditions for Application An author engages in complex conditional reasoning. The author specifies the conditions under which two or more alternative outcomes are acceptable or likely to occur. When I am criticized I may feel embarrassed if there are strangers around or I may feel neutral if those who are around are my friends. It also depends on who criticizes me and why IÕm being criticized. 3. Probability Statements Another way of expressing differentiation is through conditional statements that specify independent causes or determinants of the likelihood of some event. 4. Temporal Perspectives There are more or less differentiated ways of thinking through time. To justify a score of 3, the author must recognize how new perspectives or approaches can grow out of old ones, or recognize that although perspectives on a problem have changed, neither the earlier nor the later perspective can be simply dismissed as wrong 5. Increased Tolerance for Ambiguity A score of 3 denotes greater flexibility than any lower score. Increased tolerance for ambiguity or conflict is shown when the author considers a number of parallel or contradictory perspectives or dimensions. A different perspective is no longer automatically wrong, bad, or identified with a disliked out ­group. And good ­bad or right ­wrong judgments no longer require taking the all ­or ­nothing stances characteristic of the scale value of 1. NOTE: Content Flags Conjunctions such as but, nevertheless, while, however, and though, and qualifier adjectives and adverbs (e.g., probably, almost, usually) All of the content flags characteristic of a score of 2 are also diagnostic of a score of 3. The same key words appear to signal both implicit and explicit differentiation. Additional content flags, specific to a score of 3, include alternatively, either ­or, on the other hand, and meanwhile. SCORE OF 4 Critical Indicator The author must indicate that multiple perspectives or dimensions exist, and also that they could interact. Specific Indicators At least one of the following indicators will be found in a paragraph for a score of 4 to be assigned. 1. Withholding Judgement 2. Tension Between Alternatives SCORE OF 5 A score of 5 indicates the explicit expression of integration. The score of 4 was the transition point between an expression solely defined by differentiation and one where evidence of integration appears. Whereas 4 signifies the emergence of integration expressed in a tentative or uncertain manner, a score of 5 indicates that integration is clearly evident. Types of integration that emerge include mutual influence, negotiation, causal attributions, and synthesis. Critical Indicator Specific Indicators There are several ways in which the effects of simultaneous consideration of alternatives may be expressed. 1. Mutual Influence and Interdependence Sometimes, two or more alternatives are shown to be in a dynamic relationship, in which each perspective affects and is affected by the other. The author must clearly recognize the reciprocity of the relationship for the passage to be scored a 5. 2. Negotiation Trade ­off reasoning takes place when it is recognized that two alternative goals cannot be maximized simultaneously. The author realizes that a give and take strategy must be used and that trade ­offs must be made by both sides in order to reach a resolution, and outlines a strategy that could be used or explicitly describes the trade ­offs that could be made to reach a resolution. Note that the mere unelaborated mention of words such as trade ­offs or suggestions that cooperation or negotiation is necessary in order to settle a dispute would justify a score no higher than 4. The author is able to tolerate ambiguity and does not force a speedy resolution. Negotiation may take place between parties: 3. Framework for understanding different views Some view abortion as a civil liberties issue the womans right to choose to give birth. Others view abortion as the murder of helpless infants. Which perspective one takes depends on ones view about when the developing organism within the mother becomes a human being. 4. Synthesis The generation of a novel product is evidence of integration. This product may be explicitly related to the two alternatives in the paragraph, or the relationship may only be implied. The novel product may be expressed as an insight, a new policy, or the unexpected result of the interaction of the two dimensions. Complexity for university writing • Here is where my somewhat alternative version of complexity begins • To understand it we need to define “frameworks” • Frameworks are ways of understanding and evaluating things o Fairness Example of a moral framework o Cost Example of an economic framework • • • • Score of 6 and 7 ● As with 2 and 4, a score of 6 is something that is hinting at a level 7 understanding ● Level 7 represents an explicit awareness that different frameworks can be applied to a problem ● It is basically differentiation of frameworks Meta Scale • My system includes a second meta scale for discussing frameworks o Level 1 Discussing the value of a single framework o Level 3 Describing two or more frameworks o Level 5 Using a meta framework to compare and discuss two or more frameworks o Level 7 Awareness and discussion of more than one meta framework University Writing • Try for a level 5 or at least 4, unless a professor has explicitly instructed you to do something else • The meta scale is useful for understanding philosophy and other highly theoretical disciplines • • • We use frameworks whenever we make a value judgment of a comparison But we are usually unconscious of it For university writing you want to figure out what your framework is and state it The level 5 description mentions o Mutual Influence and Interdependence o Negotiation o Framework for understanding different views o Synthesis Actually, a framework is necessary for any of these to take place But the framework is not always explicitly stated So, level 5 is all about using a framework to work with differentiated ideas ...
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This note was uploaded on 12/15/2010 for the course LING LING 1001 taught by Professor Bob during the Spring '10 term at Carleton CA.

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