Development of cognitive styles and strategies in the visual discrimination of computer displayed graphics: Task characteristics, training and design

Date of Completion

January 2002


Psychology, Industrial|Psychology, Cognitive




Holistic and analytic cognitive strategies are considered in three experiments regarding strategic skill acquisition of visual discrimination of computer displayed graphics. Experiment 1 tests whether individuals use similar cognitive styles across different visual judgment tasks. Experiment 2 tests the interaction of the holistic and analytic style with varying levels of training difficulty on transfer performance in a novel task. Experiment 3 measures this holistic and analytic interaction with level of training difficulty using a realistic form of configural displays called radar graphs. Results show that individuals use cognitive styles that are applied consistently across similar tasks. Individuals also develop strategic cognitive processing skills differently depending on cognitive style. It is suggested that analytic participants acquire more effective skills during training than holistic participants, and are not affected by the difficulty of training when transferring to novel stimuli. Holistic participants are affected by the difficulty of training, and initially perform more accurately in transfer to novel stimuli if trained using hard comparisons. Easy trained holistic participants are more flexible in their strategies longitudinally than analytic participants are, however. Holistic participants' strategies are malleable even after training. This leads to design implications not only for training strategies, but also for computer interface design. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed. ^