Field Dependence Independence: Developmental and Laterality Variables: Donna F. Berlin
Recent investigations of the cognitive style of field dependence/ independence (psychological differentiation) have related this construct to the degree of brain hemispheric lateralization (neuropsychological differentiation). Some authors have suggested that fieldindependent subjects display greater left-hemisphere lateralization for verbal processes and greater right-hemisphere lateralization for visuo-spatial processes. Pizzamiglio (1974), Pizzamiglio and Cecchini (1971), and Waber (1977) reported that persons with a stronger rightear advantage (left hemisphere) for dichotic listening tasks, also tend to be relatively more field independent. Similarly, Oltman, Ehrlichman, and Cox (1977) reported that male and female fieldindependent adults exhibited a stronger left visual field (right hemisphere) bias for a right-hemisphere task (composite faces). Field-dependent subjects exhibited little or no lateralization. Zoccolotti and Oltman (1978) used tasks involving both hemispheres of the brain. They found that field-independent subjects exhibited a faster reaction time to letters in the right visual field (left hemisphere) and to faces in the left visual field (right hemisphere). Field-dependent subjects showed no significant hemisphere difference for either task. Bloom-Feschback (1980) correlated field independence with a measure of spatial ability (right hemisphere) and with a left ear (right hemisphere) advantage on a dichotic linguistic listening task. His results suggest both a greater right-hemisphere
lateralization as well as a greater integration or overlap of fundamental functions for field-independent subjects.