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A Study of the Relationship between Field-Independent and Field-Dependent Cognitive Styles and Social Behaviors during Free-Play of Preschool Children

Description: The problem of this study was to discover the relationship between field-independent and field-dependent cognitive styles and social behaviors during free-play of preschool children in a school setting. This study also compared the field-independent and field-dependent cognitive styles and social behaviors during free-play between age-groups and sex-groups. Thirty-six children from a university child development laboratory were subjects. They were selected from a 3-year-old classroom and a 4-year-old classroom. The research instrument, the Preschool Embedded Figures Test, was utilized to measure field-independent and field-dependent cognitive styles. The children's social behaviors were observed during free-play for four consecutive weeks. The nine categories of social behavior were solitary, parallel, and group play; .unoccupied, onlooker, transitional, and aggressive behaviors; and conversations with teachers and conversations with peers. Correlations between field-independent and field-dependent cognitive styles and social behaviors indicated that field-independence/field-dependence was related to social orientations in preschool children and also related to the choice of play activity. Field-dependent children tended to engage in conversations with teachers more often than field-independent children. Four-year-old children who were field-independent tended to spend more time in solitary play than 4-year-old children who were field-dependent. Four-year-old boys who were field-independent tended to play more often in the manipulative learning center than 4-year-old boys who were field-dependent. There were significant differences between age-groups but not significant differences between sex-groups in field-independence/field-dependence. Some social behaviors were significantly different between age-groups and sex-groups. Three-year-old children participated significantly more in physically aggressive behavior and less in conversations with peers than 4-year-old children. Boys engaged significantly more in aggressive behavior than girls.
Date: August 1989
Creator: Jun, Ye-Hwa