Differentiation: Field dependence, spatial ability, and hemispheric specialization1


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    John Collins assisted in the data collection, and Loren Paul Wurzman in the data analysis. Thanks are also due the late Herman Witkin, Helen Block Lewis, and David Galin for stimulating some of the ideas expressed here.

Inquiries or requests for reprints should be sent to Jonathan Bloom-Feshbach, Department of Psychology, Yale University, Box 11A, New Haven, Connecticut 06520.


Psychological differentiation, as measured by field independence, is studied in relationship to cerebral hemispheric differentiation as assessed through dichotic listening and spatial task performance. Predictions regarding right-hemisphere functions and field independence were confirmed. More differentiated versus less differentiated right-hemisphere superiorities are distinguished and discussed in light of the field-dependence construct. The dimension of integration, characteristic of increasing differentiation, frames the prediction that field independents are better able to utilize the right hemisphere on typically left-hemisphere tasks. The results are discussed in relationship to the potential role of cerebral mechanisms underlying different defensive styles, and in regard to the neurophychological search for covariance between psychological and neurophysiological parameters.