Information processing of complex visuals and its relationship to cognitive style and cerebral dominance

Date of Completion

January 1989


Education, Guidance and Counseling|Health Sciences, Nursing|Education, Technology of




The problem. The problem examined relationships among (1) cognitive style (at two levels: field dependence, field independence), (2) a variable's location in a visual field (at two levels: right third and left third of a visual scene) and (3) a repeated measure of information processing--object manipulation in a visual field--(at four levels: object addition, object subtraction, object substitution and unaltered scenes) with variables of cerebral dominance, visual complexity and simulated ecological validity held constant. These variables were selected to assess their effects upon subjects' visual recognition abilities.^ Experimental design. A 2 x 2 x 4 factorial design was employed with dependent variable data--visual recognition scores--analyzed by a repeated measures ANOVA.^ Experimental procedure. A research sample of baccalaureate nursing students were administered the Group Embedded Figures Test (GEFT) to assess cognitive style grouping and Levy's criteria was employed to identify cerebral hemispheric dominance. Subjects who tested as right hemisphere dominant were omitted from the study, leaving a homogeneous population of left hemisphere dominant subjects.^ Subjects viewed 25 2" x 2" projected colored and simulated but ecologically valid visual scenes, followed by a recognition test of 150 scenes, one-half of which were unaltered scenes, while the second half contained altered scenes. Scenes were altered by object addition (25), object subtraction (25), and object substitution (25). Subjects were randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups, with object manipulations occurring either in the right or left third of the visual field. Subjects with complete sets of data were blocked into field dependent groups (N = 87) and field independent groups (N = 90), according to GEFT scores.^ Summary of findings. One significant main effect was obtained on object manipulations (F = 15.97; df = 3/519; p $<$.001). Correlated t-tests established a significant difference on five of the six different object manipulation comparisons. No significant first order interactions were identified. A second-order interaction showed significance of effect for cognitive style interacting with object location under conditions of object subtraction (F = 7.75; df = 1/173; p =$<$.00). ^