Integrative complexity levels

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity." ~ George Carlin

Photo Courtesy: LMCF

This week's Sepia theme takes me back to those afternoons when I was putting together a research proposal (Re: Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, University of Copenhagen).

The project focuses on integrative complexity (IC) defined as a measure of intellectual style used by individuals or groups in processing information, problem solving, and decision making. The IC construct is used to measure complexity levels of government leaders during periods of crises.  

Cognitive studies in communication examine changes in leaders' IC levels, i.e. world leaders in the war against terrorism, Middles Eastern leaders during the 9/11 crisis, German parliamentarians on the Gulf War.  The theory is that IC complexity levels decline during conflicts and increase during resolutions of conflicts.

A notable finding from a previous study shows that changes in IC levels could be used in predicting violence. The IC measure is found to be a tool in forecasting adversary intentions. There was talk of feasibility that the IC construct can be used to predict wars and thus prevent them. Yes, I hear you. It's a long shot.

Denmark's reputation as the world's second most peaceful country (Global Peace Index, 2008) accords the Danish government credibility to host research that supports peace as response to terrorism.  Authority strengthens validity of interest on a scientific contribution to world peace, the objective which the project ultimately intends to reach.

It's been awhile, 1990 most likely, since I sang Let There Be Peace with college mates at a commencement ceremony. Behind us on stage was the country's vice president who was to speak to the graduates. Fast forward to 2013 I muse, what could his IC levels have been like if he was the Philippines' top leader during terrorist attacks by the Abu Sayyaf, an Al Queda-linked Islamist separatist group...? Part of my methodology is to dissect selected Southeast Asian leader speeches to analyze IC levels. 

But then of course I was young and research was far from my mind as worrying was near my juvenile vocal chords over hitting the right notes to Let There Be Peace on Earth.


  1. Fascinating, I'd never heard of IC before, nor had I heard the Peace on Earth song. Very appropriate post for World Peace Day.

  2. Indeed, let there be peace. Stepping back from the Syria crisis might just be proof of the truth of the Carlin quote.

    1. An observation which could be hot on the discussion table of communication academics.

    2. Carlin could be vulgar and abrasive, but this quote is so on target.
      We sometimes sing this song at Mass.

  3. What an interesting study. I'm not a student of communication style or anything closely related to that, but I'm always frustrated listening to politicians who've been coached to death in PC-ness to the point that nobody is saying anything.

    George Carlin quote -- classic!

  4. George Carlin's quote is, at first read, very funny; later it becomes sadly true...

  5. Peace in our time would be wonderful.

  6. Just checking in. I am sure you have the voice for it now.


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