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By J. Mehler, T. G. Bever & S. Franck (Editors)

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Additional resources for Cognition, Vol. 4, No. 3

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Paradoxically, easily the most field dependent group were those girls rated as the most cognitively mature. The explanation was that these girls were also the most sensitive to sex-role expectations (see Vroegh, 197 1). Perhaps more importantly, sex differences tend to disappear with practice (Change and Goldstein, 1971) and/or be subsumed under a more powerful and more clearly spatial factor (Sherman, 1967; 1974). Thus Wolf (1971) using a modification of Witkin’s test in which no simple figures recur, thereby confining performance to the short term, found no sex differences in children between 6 and 12 years of age (though failing to discuss the possibility of sex differences in short term memory itself).

This would predict parity across the hemispheres for the effects of unilateral lesions on spatial abilities in males, as opposed to maximal disruption by right-sided lesions in females and/or bilateral invasion in males. Thus far, the theory is not well-supported by the experimental data. As might be expected from the previous section the most entertaining possibilities for a laterality theory emerge from IQ testing in clinical groups. In Lansdell’s (1968) series, for instance, men with right- rather than leftsided operations scored lower on a composite measure of ‘non-verbal’ items (including, be it noted, Arithmetic, a renegade from the WAIS Verbal subscale, and Digit Span, both tests which can lay good claim to a left-sided location - see, for example, McFie, 1960); whereas the reverse was to a lesser extent true of females.

Thumb earlier than boys, at 6 years as opposed to 11 years. This dominance in girls disappeared again at 11 years, and the relation to adult dominance is doubtful in view of the unexplained lower thresholds in childhood. Kimura (1967) reports a study based on children of lower socio-economic background, half Canadian and half Californian, in which a group of twenty 5 year old boys, in contrast to a similar group of 5 year old girls, failed to show a significant difference between ears on the digits task.

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Cognition, Vol. 4, No. 3 by J. Mehler, T. G. Bever & S. Franck (Editors)

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