Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




One rather consistent finding from studies involving field dependence-independence is that males are more field independent, more articulated in their approach to certain perceptual tasks, than females. It appears that socialization factors and sex-role identification relate to the development of field dependence or field independence. If society plays a part in the development of individual differences in field dependency, a change in society such as the present movement toward greater equality in sex roles could possibly influence sex differences in field dependency. The present study attempts to assess the effect of attitudes favoring traditional roles for women vs. more liberal views which desire equality for males and females on traditional sex differences in field dependency.

To accomplish this task the Attitudes Toward Women Scale was administered to 180 introductory psychology students in the spring of 197^. Students who volunteered to participate in future research and who scored at the extreme ends of the scale were selected as subjects. Subjects consisted of four groups of 15, which were classified according to their attitudes toward women as liberal and conservative males; liberal and conservative females. Subjects were individually administered the rod-and-frame test and embedded figures test as field dependency measures. Test results were analyzed by a two-way analysis of variance.

Traditional sex differences with females significantly more field dependent were found by both field dependency measures. Whereas females with liberal attitudes were more field dependent than females with conservative attitudes, the opposite relationship occurred for males resulting in a significant interaction.

Results suggest that "women's libbers" hold a more typically female orientation in this perceptual variable than their more traditional, conservative counterparts. Since attitude only was being assessed, actual "liberated behavior" might show a differing relationship with field dependency. Possible hypotheses and implications were discussed.