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date: 18 October 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Political action is often a product of political thinking, and one of the most important aspects of political thought is its complexity. Thus, it is not surprising that the study of integrative complexity—the level of cognitive differentiation and subsequent integration of idea elements pertaining to an issue—has had a long and rich history in understanding political behavior. This chapter explores two arenas in which integrative complexity has contributed to our understanding of political behavior: political violence and political success. It then pursues multiple perspectives that help explain where integrative complexity comes from, including the cognitive manager model, the value pluralism model, and a strategic communication model. The chapter concludes by placing past research in the context of new developments in integrative complexity theory and measurement and considers productive directions for future complexity research in an increasingly social media–driven environment.

Keywords: integrative complexity, politics, cognitive manager, value pluralism, strategic communication

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