Date of Award

Spring 1994

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Committee Director

Glynn D. Coates

Committee Member

Raymond H. Kirby

Committee Member

Fred Freeman


The purpose of this study was to investigate whether human information processing does occur in parallel in the right hemisphere and serially in the left hemisphere as suggested by the hemisphere strategy model. In addition, this study was also designed to determine if there is a right hemisphere advantage in the processing of nonverbal information as indicated by the material specific theory.

In this 3 x 3 x 3 x 2 x 2 mixed design, Complexity (3) and Gender (2) were the between-subjects variables. Time Factor (3), Field of Vision (3), and Type (2) were the within-subjects variables. Complexity was defined in terms of the number of columns in the bargraphs--4, 6, and 8. The dependent variables were reaction time and accuracy.

The Time Factor determined the exposure duration of the bargraphs. The three different durations were 140, 210, and 280 msec. The three different field of vision were left (LFOV), right (RFOV), and center (CFOV). Single and double stimulus conditions were represented by the Type variable.

Complexity was the only variable that resulted in statistically significant differences between group means for both the reaction time and accuracy measures. However, the post hoc tests revealed that the differences between group means were significant only for the 4-column bargraphs. There were no differences between the 6- and the 8-column bargraphs.

Gender and Time Factor had no effect on performance, while Position and Type did demonstrate some differences among group means. In general, interaction effects were disappointing with very few significant effects.

The results of this study do not fully support the hemisphere strategy model and the material specific model. There was no clear indication that parallel processing of nonverbal information occurs exclusively in the right hemisphere and serial processing in the left hemisphere.

The pattern of results suggest that hemisphere advantage switches from one hemisphere to the other as complexity increases. This was also the case with other studies reported in the literature review section.

It was suggested that the measurement of complexity must be determined and generally adopted to ensure uniform measures. The problems and suggestions for future research on this important topic are discussed.


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