Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Self-Awareness and Cognitive Style: Relationships among Adaption-Innovation, Self-Monitoring, and Self-Consciousness

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Self-Awareness and Cognitive Style: Relationships among Adaption-Innovation, Self-Monitoring, and Self-Consciousness

Article excerpt

Adaption-innovation is a construct of preferred problem-solving style; adaptors work best within clear guidelines and prefer to "do things better", whereas innovators bridle at structure and prefer to "do things differently". Adaption-innovation bears considerable putative similarity to self-monitoring and self-consciousness. In this study the relationships among these constructs were explored using the responses of 55 undergraduate students (48 females, 7 males) on the Kirton Adaption-Innovation Inventory (KAI; Kirton, 1976), the Self-Monitoring Scale (Snyder & Gangestad, 1986) and the Self-Consciousness Scale (Fenigstein, Scheier, & Buss, 1975). Higher adaption-innovation scores were significantly and positively associated with higher self-monitoring scores and significantly and negatively associated with social anxiety scores. In addition, multiple regression analyses indicated that the facets of self-consciousness as well as self-monitoring significantly predicted adaption-innovation. The implications of examining cognitive style in relation to interpersonal attributes are discussed.

Keywords: self-awareness, cognitive style, adaption-innovation, self-monitoring, problem solving, self-consciousness.

Throughout the psychology literature, researchers (e.g., Paulhus & Williams, 2002; Skinner & Drake, 2003) have linked a host of personality constructs (e.g., Machiavellianism, extraversion, openness to experience) to individuals' social behaviors and characteristics (e.g., altruism, aggression). More recent research has focused on bridging the gap between personality and cognition by linking theories of cognitive style to aspects of personality or self-hood (Sternberg & Grigorenko, 1997). In the present study the way in which the cognitive style construct of adaption-innovation is related to the personality constructs of self-monitoring and self-consciousness - which are described below - was examined.


According to Kirton (1976, 2000), adaption-innovation is a bipolar construct of cognitive style that identifies an individual's preferred approach to problem solving. "Adaptors" choose to work within existing guidelines or paradigms to achieve improved solutions, whereas "innovators" feel constrained by rules and opt to operate "outside the box" so as to solve problems differently. Researchers (e.g., Goldsmith & Matherly, 1987; Skinner, 1996) have found that adaptioninnovation is related to motivation for uniqueness, perceived creativity, and self-esteem. Despite these findings, it is not known if adaption-innovation is associated with self-monitoring and self-consciousness.


Self-monitoring refers to individuals' ability to regulate their behavior to meet the demands of social situations (Snyder, 1987). High self-monitors readily alter or adapt their behavior as necessary from one social context to the next; in contrast, low self-monitors exhibit what they regard as their true selves, and judge their behavior to be consistent across all social situations. The characteristics associated with self-monitoring resemble those associated with adaption-innovation. Specifically, (a) adaptors' consistent adherence to rules and guidelines appears similar to low self-monitoring (i.e., behaving consistently from one social situation to the next) and (b) innovators' preference for employing "different" solutions appears more characteristic of high self-monitoring (i.e., behaving differently from one social context to the next). In fact, Skinner and Perlini (1989) reported that (a) innovators scored significantly higher on selfmonitoring than did adaptors, and (b) high self-monitors were significantly more innovative than were low self-monitors. The present investigation was based in part on the work of Skinner and Perlini (1989); in addition, it extends the literature by examining how adaption-innovation and self-monitoring are related to self-consciousness. …

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