Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Not applicable

Advisor Role

Not applicable


The purpose of the present study was to investigate the developmental concept of the process of differentiation as reflected in cognitive style with three and seven year old male and female Ss. The ideas underlying this study stemmed from the Witkin concept of an analytical versus a global cognitive style. The design, however, differed considerably from the studies of Witkin, Dyk, Faterson, Goodenough, and Karp (1962) by incorporating three aspects of psychological functioning which theoretically should be highly related, although they have never been investigated simultaneously. The three aspects of psychological functioning were perceptual articulation as measured by the Preschool Embedded Figures Test and the Children’s Embedded Figures Test, articulation of teh body concept as measured by the Make-a-Person Test, the Draw-a-Person Test, and the Clown Assembly Test, and verbal articulation as measured by the Entwisle (1966b) 96 stimulus word association list. The 60 Ss (30 at ages 3 and 7, equal sexes in both groups) were assessed on all of these measures, except the Draw-a-Person Test, which was only administered to the 7 year old Ss. The results and discussion dispelled two widely held myths neither of which had ever had much empirical support in the literature. First, there was unequivocally no support for the consistency construct of the analytical versus the global cognitive style across areas of psychological functioning. Second, there was no evidence of female superiority on measures of verbal articulation. The discussion centred on two findings, which were first, the extension of Entwisle’s (1966b) model of the syntactic-paradigmatic (S-P) shift to an irrelevant-syntactic-paradigmatic (I-S-P) shift with emphasis on the qualitative aspect of the responses, and second, an improvement in scoring the embedded figures test. The major conclusion was that the most data-based and therefore the most useful reference standard for studying a variety of developmental patterns in young chidlren would be the verbal articulation measure.

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