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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A cognitive style study of Native Indian children Cullinane, Debra Kaye


This study examined the issues of culture, measurement and development involved in field-dependent-independent cognitive style research with Native Indian and Non-Indian students. Two cultural groups were tested, and each group consisted of 75 students from ages 8 to 12. One of the cultural groups was composed of Tsimshian Indians living in villages outside of Prince Rupert, and the other was composed of non-Natives living in Prince Rupert. Four measures of field-dependent-independent cognitive style were individually administered to students. One test (Embedded Figures Test) was established as the criterion measure of cognitive style, and the potential of the other three tests as measures of cognitive style was investigated. Five ages were included so that differences in developmental trends could be determined. Results showed that the non-Natives scored significantly closer to the field-independent end of the continuum than the Natives on two of the four measures of cognitive style. These results indicated that cultural differences do exist between the two cultural groups for two of the measures. The four cognitive style measures were found to inter-correlate highly, which indicated that they form a reasonable battery to use for measuring field-dependence-independence. Results also showed no interaction between age and culture, thereby indicating that no significant differences in development existed between the two cultural groups. In both groups, cognitive style developed in the same linear sequence, and reached the same level of development by age 12.

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