Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Dr. Frances Moroney


This study investigated the relationship between field dependence/independence and the ability to utilize prior knowledge during discourse processing.

A sample population of thirty-one eighth grade students were given the Group Embedded Figures Test, a measure of field dependence/independence, and one of two narrative passages designed to measure the degree to which an individual utilizes prior knowledge.

The scores of these two measures were analyzed to determine if there was a significant difference between the field dependents and the field independents in their performance on the constrained and unconstrained passages, measuring schema utilization.

A significant difference was found in the mean score of the two groups on the constrained passage, no difference was found in their performance on the unconstrained passage.

This analysis leads to the conclusion that in this testing population of eighth graders, the field independent students were better able to utilize their prior knowledge to comprehend a written passage than the field dependent students.