Cowart, W., Smith-Petersen, G. A., & Fowler, S. (1998). Equivocal evidence on field dependence effects in sentence judgments. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 87, 1091-1102.



The study reported here examined field dependence effects on judgments of grammaticality. Several sentence types involving coordinate structures were used. The types we tested were based on examples such as: *The patients pretended that Elinor injured themselves and the dietician. Earlier work shows that the presence of the coordinate structure (themselves and the dietician) greatly improves acceptability of apparently ungrammatical sentences such as this. The present results show no reliable differences in the overall pattern of judgments with these and related coordinate structures for subjects classified as field dependent and field independent. However, some intriguing differences of pattern were nonetheless apparent across subject types, though they were not reliable in all relevant tests. In addition to reliable differences in gross response level, field dependent people showed an attenuation of certain differences noted in the results of field independent people. Thus, our results constitute equivocal evidence of differences in the grammatical preferences of field dependent and field independent people. We argue, however, that these results reflect differences in the processing styles of the two types of individual, not differences in the principles or logic implemented by the grammatical systems of the two types.

[home | publications]