Differentiation, Cognition, and Social Evolution
AbstractEquivocal findings regarding the relationship between psychological differentiation and requirements for complex social functioning are traced to Witkin and Berry's (1975; Berry, 1976, 1979a, 1979b, 1980a, 1980b) commitment to a trait-based notion of psychological differentiation. An alternative evolutionary approach is proposed which suggests the possibility of more domain-specific cognitive functioning. The authors review the pertinent literature and reinterpret prior findings from the perspective that global and articulated cognitive styles will vary as a function of the nature of environmental demands in the domain of interest and of the explicitness of knowledge regarding such demands available to the actors. Such an interpretation provides a better fit to the empirical data currently available. Hypotheses derived from the alternative model are also presented.