Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




The purpose of the present study was to determine the nature and degree of relationship between cerebral "hemispheric style" and several traditional dimensions of "cognitive style." A large battery of laterality preference, cognitive style, verbal and nonverbal ability, and selected additional tests was administered to 97 (52 female, 45 male) right-handed undergraduate volunteers, with subsequent analysis of relationships among the measures by simple correlation, factor analysis, and multiple regression methods.

Laterality measures included the Zenhausern, Verbalizer-Visualizer Questionnaire, and a lateral eye movement observation measure. Data analyses utilized individual laterality test scores as well as a composite "laterality index." Eleven cognitive style tests were administered, including measures of field independence, distractibility, complexity, flexibility, and other dimensions. Additional tests administered included measures of verbal and visual synthesizing ability, anxiety, repression-sensitization, and social desirability.

The main findings of the study were as follows: (1) Intercorrelations of the cognitive style measures were generally very low, ranging from .00 to -.54; (2) Only one cognitive style factor reliably emerged, accounting for about 10% of the common cognitive style test variance. This factor was called "Open vs. Closed-Mindedness" and was defined primarily by Dogmatism, Rigidity, and Ambiguity Tolerance scores; (3) Maximum multiple prediction of individual and composite laterality scores from individual cognitive style tests, cognitive style factor scores, and additional scores accounted for 11% to 25% of laterality variance; (4) Sex differences were nonsignificant on all measures with the following exceptions: Females performed the Stroop Test more quickly, were "narrower categorizers" on the Category Width Scale, and obtained higher trait anxiety scores than males.

General conclusions drawn were that hemispheric and cognitive style, as measured in the present study, are largely unrelated, and that individuals manifest considerable diversity in cognitive style. The findings caution against oversimplification and overgeneralization in reference to both hemispheric and cognitive style and their interrelationship. Low intercorrelations of measures within both domains do call into question the adequacy of available tests of these constructs and suggest the need for further test development based upon current neuropsychological knowledge.