Michael Beatty, STEVEN K. PAYNE

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Recent studies have indicated that cognitive complexity scores, based on the quantity of constructs embedded in written essays, correlate significantly with the total number of words contained in the response. As a consequence, a controversy involving whether loquacity rather than cognitive complexity has been measured by such scoring procedures has emerged. In this study (1) the premise is advanced that the quantity of constructs approach represents subjects' willingness to write rather than personal construct systems or construal processes, (2) loquacity is explained in terms of motivational variables rather than construal processes and (3) two separate studies test the motivational hypothesis. Results of study J indicate that subjects promised credit for rigor write more words and more constructs than did their non‐motivated counterparts. Moreover, the results of study 2 demonstrate that writing apprehension scores and self‐reports of situational motivation predict both loquacity and cognitive complexity scores. These findings support a motivational hypothesis regarding loquacity and raise serious questions concerning cognitive complexity measurement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)605-612
Number of pages8
JournalHuman Communication Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language


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