ERIC Number: ED326548
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Electrophysiological Determinants of Cognitive Style: Implications for Educational and Psychological Research.
Dunn, Bruce R.; Reddix, Michael D.
Implications of two studies conducted by the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) at the University of West Florida (Pensacola) regarding electrophysiological determinants of cognitive style (CS) are discussed. Most of the IHMC's research focuses on bimodal processing theory, according to which the human brain has at least two qualitatively different modes of thought: the analytic mode, which is logical, linear, and sequential and the holistic mode, which is simultaneous, parallel, or gestalt. The first study, conducted by B. R. Dunn and others in 1981, involved the use of expository texts that had a hierarchically organized logical semantic structure. The second study, conducted by B. R. Dunn and M. D. Reddix in 1984, involved having subjects read one highly holistic poem and one logical or analytical poem. Recordings of ongoing electroencephalographic (EEG) activity have been used at the IHMC to study global aspects of complex cognitive processes underlying the reading and encoding of connected discourse. EEG activity in the alpha bandwidth (8 to 13 Hertz) is a reliable correlate of a person's modal processing or CS, not merely a measure of mental alertness. Study results indicate that while a person reads exposition, the right hemisphere functions to a greater extent than the left; the opposite is true while a person reads poetry. For expository texts using tight cause and effect relations, subjects classified as analytics recall more superordinate or gist information than those classified as holistics. For males, bimodal theory predicts their recall pattern for both prose and poetry quite well. In contrast, bimodal theory predicts female recall only when the text is in a logically structured expository form. There seem to be real gender differences in cognitive processes. Differential brain organization may lead to (possibly qualitative) differences in CS. It is suggested that if such qualitative differences exist, a universal instructional approach applied to all students may not be appropriate. A 31-item list of references, 2 data tables, and 5 figures are included. (TJH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Bimodal Theory; Text Processing (Reading)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Boston, MA, April 16-20, 1990).