Conflict and the Complexity of Cognitive Processes

  • Katarzyna Samson
Part of the Understanding Complex Systems book series (UCS)


From the perspective of Dynamical Systems Theory, the collapse of complexity is one of the crucial phenomena involved in conflict escalation and intractability. It happens when the relations between distinct psychological or social elements involved in conflict become aligned and begin to mutually reinforce each other. At an individual level, a collapse of complexity is reflected in a decrease in the complexity of cognitive processes – the dimensions on which reality is perceived converge, so, at the end of the day it all comes down to being either with us or against us. The first part of this chapter outlines a number of different constructs related to the complexity of cognitive processing, describes their most common measures, and briefly presents their ontogenesis. In the second part, the empirical evidence for the impairment of cognitive capacities in a situation of social conflict is shown. Finally, the Dynamical Systems Theory approach to conflict is briefly presented; focus is placed on the role of complexity, in the processes both of conflict escalation and of conflict resolution.


Cognitive Capacity Personal Construct Cognitive Complexity Integrative Complexity Complex Information Processing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of PsychologyUniversity of WarsawWarsawPoland

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