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Goode, Patrick E.
Cognitive style differences in temporal organization: event-related potentials and the study of serial order.

Order No.9534650

Field dependent-independent (FDI) cognitive style differences along a dimension of cognitive restructuring ability have been attributed to differential engagement of central executive processes of the prefrontal cortex. It was hypothesized that prospective temporal organization (the ability to temporally integrate plan with goal) was a psychological process essential to cognitive restructuring which would index cognitive style differences.

Thirty subjects were grouped into high restructuring ability (15 field independent) and low restructuring ability (15 field dependent) on the basis of rod-and-frame test scores, a traditional measure of FDI. A serial order recall task was then administered requiring subjects to encode and elaborate features from two successive complex geometric shapes presented over a computer screen in response to a feature probe requesting a temporal (serial order) judgment. The task manipulated a retrospective temporal organization function (the ability to link past events in service of a goal) and a prospective temporal organization function by independently varying elaboration demand as well as feature recall demand.

Reaction time and performance accuracy verified the manipulation of experimental variables and confirmed that subjects complied with elaboration and feature recall requirements. A repeated measures MANOVA indicated the cognitive style groups did not differ on retrospective temporal organization indexed by a positive slow wave which was significantly enhanced at frontal, central and parietal sites in the high elaboration relative to the low elaboration condition. A repeated measures MANOVA revealed the groups did significantly differ in amplitude of a primarily frontal and central negative slow wave (CNV) prior to the feature probe in the high demand prospective temporal organization condition.

The results from this study provide psychophysiological evidence in support of theories of FDI which suggest central executive processes may play an important role in explaining differences in the FDI cognitive style. It is suggested the theoretical model associating the frontal lobes with a temporal organization function and the use of ERP methodology may serve as a valuable framework to further explore the psychological construct of FDI. Source: DAI, 56, no. 06B, (1995): 3494

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