ERIC Number: ED354379
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Dec-8
Reference Count: N/A
A Study of Gender Differences in Cognitive Style and Conative Volition.
Fritz, Robert L.
Witkin's field-dependence cognitive style theory predicts that females are more likely to have a social or field-dependent cognitive style, whereas males will more often have an analytical or field-independent cognitive style. Data from 144 secondary marketing education students (62 males, 82 females) from three secondary schools in northern Georgia confirmed this gender difference. These different styles include personality and information processing characteristics that may have conative origins. To explore this hypothesis, gender was used to analyze 20 conative (volitional) variables from the Educational Style Preference Inventory (ESPI). The ESPI measured orientation toward theoretical symbols (words and numbers), cultural determinants, and modes of inference. Twelve statistically significant but not large differences were found, suggesting that gender differences relate to conative or volitional behavior. Males were more field independent (analytical) although females had higher mean scores for theoretical symbols (abstractions). Females also had conative preferences that suggest a social orientation and sensitivity to the learning environment. This matches expectations from field-dependence theory. In general, the findings suggest that females, more than males, rely on enculturated values to interpret situations, desire peer input to organize experience and shape decisions, and want a variety of instructional modalities to derive meaning from an experience. Implications for teaching strategies and highly valued job skills, such as problem solving and interpersonal skills, are evident and provide the basis for future research. (Contains 27 references.) (Author/KC)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Georgia