Seeing the forest before the trees depends on individual field-dependency characteristics

Exp Psychol. 2008;55(5):328-33. doi: 10.1027/1618-3169.55.5.328.


Numerous studies have demonstrated that the well-known global precedence effect, characterized by a visual bias toward global information, is highly dependent on stimulus characteristics (Kimchi, 1992). Despite the extensive global-local literature, few studies have investigated how interindividual characteristics could affect the global precedence effect. In this framework, we studied the relationship between global-local visual biases and the Group Embedded Figure Test (GEFT), a standardized measure of field dependency. Data from 34 participants were consistent with the idea that an individual's bias toward the global level is linearly related to his or her degree of field dependence. Given the important role that global-local visual skills play during visuospatial tasks, these results have important implications for future research in this area.

Keywords: compound stimuli; field-dependency; global processing; local processing; precedence effect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Gestalt Theory
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Processes / physiology*
  • Metaphor
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Sex Factors
  • Visual Perception / physiology*
  • Young Adult