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Original Article

Performance on Embedded Figures Tests

Profiling Individual Differences

Published Online:

We examined individual performance on an embedded figures test, in two separate studies. Performance measures were both the number (m) of hits (H) and the number of false alarms (FA), and their respective reaction times (RT). Using these measures, we postulated four templates of performance, indicative of field dependence (mH = low, RTH = long, mFA = high), field independence (mH = high, RTH = short, mFA = low), impulsiveness (mH = low, RTH = short, mFA = high), and reflectiveness (mH = high, RTH = long, mFA = low). In the first study, individual profiles were correlated with these four templates, whose mean values were updated in a stepwise manner, under the constraint that the individual profile had to be substantially correlated with the emerging template (r > 0.9). This procedure resulted in the final placement of a total of 64 individuals (80%) into one of the four templates. In the second study, we could identify 87% of the participants in such a manner. These participants also provided us with performance data on the rod-and-frame test (RFT), and a line-bisection task (whose analysis here is innovative), as well as scores on the sensation-seeking scales. We emphasize the utility of adopting such a finely-tuned approach to the study of the disembedding aspect of the cognitive style, and to the profiling of individual differences in general.