PERCEIVED CONFLICT OF OCCUPATIONAL AND FAMILIAL ORIENTATIONS AND INDIVIDUAL COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE (GENDER, CREATIVITY, MEMORY, REPRESSION).
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractA theoretical analysis of the relationship between social structure and cognitive structure is presented. Based upon this analysis, a study was done in which the cognitive activity of high and low self-esteem (SE) women was assessed under some particular social conditions. The factors manipulated were: focus of attention on either orientation toward a career or on orientation toward family; activation (via priming) of either the cognitive structure encoding masculine tendencies or that containing information on feminine tendencies; and perceptions of how well family and career functions fit together for most women. The primary dependent measures used were tests of hand-eye coordination, of creativity, of memory and of level of negative emotion. The results partially supported the hypotheses. They indicated four-way interactions for the recall measure and for one measure of use of defense mechanisms. Two three-way interactions were observed in the analysis of the measure of creativity. The measure of emotion showed only a main-effect of the focus-of-attention manipulation, such that women in the family-focus condition exhibited significantly more emotion. There were no significant effects on the measure of hand-eye coordination. High self-esteem subjects were much more likely to use defense mechanisms, including repression of threatening information. Conflict increased creativity only when focus of attention was congruent with chronic or situationally-induced (masculine or feminine) tendencies. The applicability to this data of both cognitive-psychological and psychodynamic concepts and mechanisms is assessed. It is concluded that neither theory can completely account for the data. Some practical implications of the findings are discussed.