Adaptive Changes in Ability
Knowledge of the many limitations of a person’s ability is derived from Lewin. Simply, the disrupted individual’s cognitive complexity is reduced. To be sure, not all changes in ability are problematic. People’s ability to learn is typically increased while in a state of disruption. However, a person in disruption will be unable to think and behave on a higher level (Lewin, 1951). This reduction in cognitive complexity is associated with a variety of deficits. To begin, there is less fluidity to switch back and forth between goals (Lewin, 1941); also, a person in a state of disruption will have a reduced ability to accomplish simultaneous goals at one time (Lewin, 1941). There will also be a decrease in the variety of the behavior exhibited (Lewin, 1951). The disrupted person will be less creative (e.g., Isen, Daubman, & Nowicki, 1987; Hirt, Melton, McDonald, & Harackiewicz, 1996) and will exhibit a reduced ability to come up with alternative solutions (Brown, 1953; Lewin, 1941; Plessow, Kiesel, Kirschbaum, & Fischer, 2012; Woolgar, Hampshire, Thompson, & Duncan, 2011). The disrupted person will be fixated on resolving the disruption, which will impair that person’s abilities. Put another way, the person will not be able to shut out thoughts on the topic or focus on unrelated topics. The individual will only be able to focus on returning to equilibrium (Nissim et al., 2012).