"Psychological effects of complex environments during the life span: A review and theory"
by Schooler, Carmi (1984)
This paper reviews evidence supporting a theory about the psychological effects of complex environments suggested by research on the causal relationships between occupational conditions and psychological functioning. The review indicates that environmental complexity leads to effective cognitive functioning across all stages of the life span. This effect has been found in both sexes, in several nations, and in species other than man. Although the evidence is not as extensive, environmental complexity also appears to lead to a self-directed rather than conformist orientation.
This paper reviews findings supporting a theory about the psychological effects of environmental complexity. The theory is suggested by the results of a survey research program on work and adult personality. ~ It is supported not only by findings about the psychological effects of complex environments during the work years, but also by evidence from a wide variety of other sources, including research about environmental effects on children and the aged, as well as animal and social psychological experiments. According to the theory, the complexity of an individual's environment is defined by its stimulus and demand characteristics. The more diverse the stimuli, the greater the number of decisions required, the greater the number of considerations to be taken into account in making these decisions, and the more illdefined and apparently contradictory the contingencies, the more complex the environment. (p.259)
KeywordsComplex Work, Social Psychology, Environmental Complexity, Psychological Functioning, Cognitive Functioning
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