Date of Award

January 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Education, Health & Behavior Studies

First Advisor

Richard N. Van Eck


Western society reflects an “eikoncentric era” when contemporary instruction has become image -centered. Textbooks, journals, popular media as well as computer-based and web- based instructional media are filled by pictures that are intended to accomplish learning. Imagery is widely believed to represent an efficient, understandable method for relaying information and clarifying instruction for nearly all learners. However, those who subscribe to the adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” often fail to acknowledge individual differences in visual comprehension and cognition. The field dependent-independent (FDI) cognitive style describes individual learner differences that can thwart visual learning. Information graphics are among the frequently used types of imagery that portray data. There is little empirical evidence to guide their design, and their creation is often based on intuition or opinion. This study researched the ways FDI learners comprehend and aesthetically assess minimalist information graphics, pictograms and infographics. Those participants who represented the most extreme field-dependent or field-independent learners were invited to participate in a two-part study. An instrument named the Comparative Information Graphic Test (CIG-T) was developed for testing comprehension of and perceived aesthetic efficacy, value and preference for minimalist information graphics, pictograms and infographics by FDI learners