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Personality and perception: Differences in the processing of visual stimuli in the obsessive-compulsive and hysteric personalities

1 July 1987


The purpose of this study was to clarify the nature of perceptual processing by obsessive-compulsives and hysterics and provide empirical support for the different cognitive styles associated with these personality types. utilizing a visual processing task, this study addressed the global mode of processing which seemed characteristic of hysteric individuals and the more focused, local mode of processing which seemed characteristic of obsessive-compulsive individuals. Subjects were selected on the basis of their scores on the Lazare-Klerman-Armor Personality Inventory, a self report questionnaire of personality traits. The sample consisted of 20 obsessive-compulsives, 20 hysterics and 20 control subjects. All subjects performed speeded classification card sorting tasks to assess the. degree to which they could process one aspect of a stimuli and not be influenced by another. Contrary to the hypotheses of this study, there were no differences by group in processing the visual stimuli. The lack of differences by personality groups supported the universality of visual perception processing. The results of this study indicated that personality factors did not influence processing at the perceptual level. This study provided additional support for global precedence with the specific task employed. The discrepancy between the hypotheses and the results was discussed in terms of level of information processing addressed and possible problems with subject selection.


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