Deutsch: Ergänzung / Español: Complemento / Português: Complemento / Français: Complément / Italiano: Complemento

A complement is a noun phrase that includes a verb, for example, you sat down in I see you sat down.

In psychology, the term complement refers to something that completes or goes well with something else, enhancing its qualities or making it whole. This concept can be seen in several psychological frameworks, especially in theories related to personality, relationships, and cognitive processes.

General Description

In the context of interpersonal relationships, a complement refers to how different personal qualities or behaviors in individuals can complement each other, leading to more satisfying and stable relationships. For example, in a partnership, one person may be more decision-oriented while the other is more nurturing, and these complementary roles can enhance relationship satisfaction.

In cognitive psychology, complement can refer to how different cognitive processes or pieces of information work together to produce a complete understanding or response. This can involve how memory, perception, and reasoning complement each other to allow for effective interaction with the environment.

Application Areas

  • Interpersonal Relationships: Understanding complementarity can help in areas such as marriage counseling, where therapists work with couples to explore how their differing traits and behaviors can be viewed positively.
  • Personality Psychology: Studies how complementary traits between individuals can lead to more effective teams or partnerships.
  • Cognitive Psychology: Examines how various cognitive functions complement each other to facilitate complex mental tasks.

Treatment and Risks

Recognizing and fostering complementary relationships can be beneficial in therapeutic settings, helping individuals understand and appreciate the value of differing perspectives and skills. In a therapeutic context, focusing on how personal qualities complement each other can improve group dynamics, enhance personal relationships, and support mental health recovery.

However, over-reliance on complementary traits can sometimes lead to dependency or avoidance of personal growth if individuals rely too heavily on others to "complete" areas they are less competent in, instead of developing these skills themselves.

Similar Terms

  • Synergy: Often used in a similar context to describe how different elements work together to produce a result that is greater than the sum of its parts.
  • Interpersonal Complementarity: A specific term used in psychology to describe how interpersonal behaviors can be complementary, such as dominance and submissiveness in social interactions.


Articles with 'Complement' in the title

  • Complementarity: Complementarity refers to the popularly supposed tendency, in a relationship between two people, for each to complete what is missing in the other. The questionable complementarity hypothesis proposes that people attract those whose needs . . .
  • Complementary (functional, schematic, thematic) classification: Complementary (functional, schematic, thematic) classification : Complementary (functional, schematic, thematic) classification is a term in classification tasks which refers to the grouping together of items from conceptually different . . .
  • Interpersonal complementarity hypothesis: Interpersonal complementarity hypothesis: Interpersonal complementarity hypothesis refers to the predicted tendency for certain behaviors to evoke behaviors from others that are congruous with the initial behavior, with positive behaviors . . .


In psychology, complement refers to the way in which different traits, behaviors, or cognitive processes can enhance or complete each other, contributing to more effective functioning or more satisfying relationships. Understanding this concept can aid in personal development, therapeutic interventions, and the optimization of team dynamics in various settings.

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