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Field dependency of good versus poor readers as measured by the children's embedded figures test Murphy, Lorne William

Abstract

This study explored the difference in field independent-dependent perception of good readers as compared with poor readers. To accomplish this, it was necessary to try to partial out or eliminate the effects of extraneous but influential variables. An attempt was made to experimentally control the following variables: (i) lack of familiarity with spoken English, (ii) visual defects, (iii) sex, (iv) age, and (v) number of years in school. The extraneous variable statistically controlled was nonreading verbal intelligence. A total of 49 second-grade boys constituted the sample of this study. Of these, 26 comprised the good-reader group and 23 the poor-reader group. They attended eight public elementary schools of Richmond, B.C. Three instruments were employed. These were the Metropolitan Achievement Test, Primary Battery II, Form B, "Reading Stories" subtest, the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (Verbal Scale), and the Children's Embedded Figures Test. The statistical techniques applied were one-way analysis of co-variance and multiple regression analysis. The main hypothesis predicted a significantly higher level of field independence among good readers than among poor readers with the effects of nonreading verbal intelligence controlled. The data did not uphold this hypothesis. A sub-hypothesis predicted a significant positive correlation between field independence and reading comprehension, when level of verbal IQ was statistically controlled. The data did not support this hypothesis. The single variable which correlated most highly with reading comprehension was nonreading verbal IQ. In addition, verbal intelligence was a considerably more valid predictor of field dependency than was reading comprehension, which accounted for almost none of the field dependency variance. The negative results and the almost non-existent relationship between reading comprehension and field dependency were discussed in terms of the scoring procedures for the CEFT. It was felt that the standardized procedure possibly invites a good deal of extraneous variance, particularly since it apparently rewards reflective responses and penalizes impulsive responses. An alternate scoring technique was proposed which might reduce the possibility of contamination by the extraneous variable of impulsivity-reflectivity in responding.

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