Date of Award

1981

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

English

First Advisor

Dr. Kenneth A. Blick

Second Advisor

Dr. Frederick J. Kozub

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between field dependency and performance on an eyewitness task. Sixty four college students participated in the experiment. Subjects were divided into two groups, field dependent and field independent, based on their scores on the Group Embedded Figures Test (Witkin et al. , 1971). All the subjects viewed a series of slides depicting a wallet snatching incident and, after completing a short, filler activity, filled out a thirty item questionnaire on the slides. After a two day interval, the subjects read a summary paragraph of the wallet snatching incident. This paragraph contained four pieces of erroneous information about four items in the slides. After completing another filler activity, the paragraphs were collected and a second, twenty item questionnaire on the slides was passed out and completed by the subjects. Among the twenty items on the second questionnaire were the correct and incorrect answers to the four false pieces of information presented in the summary paragraph. It was hypothesized that the field independent subjects would have fewer errors and would be more accurate on both questionnaires about the wallet snatch ­ ing incident than the field dependent subjects. It was also hypothesized that the field dependent subjects would be more open to post event suggestion from a significant social figure than field independent subjects and would therefore incorporate more of the false information into their recall of the wallet snatching incident. Results indicate that both groups, field dependent and field independent, performed better on questionnaire one than on questionnaire two given two days later. However, there were no differences between the two groups on their accuracy scores on the two questionnaires or on their scores on the four critical items. It was concluded that performance on an eyewitness task is not related to field dependency.

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