- In recent years, changes in values have occurred in major elements of the population, most notably among the late adolescents and the college students. That this holds portent for the future was referred to by Revel in WITHOUT MARX OR JESUS when he said, "The American revolution is without doubt the first revolution in history in which disagreement on values and goals is more pronounced than disagreement on the means of existence."
Values are constituted of beliefs and attitudes central to one's mechanisms for defense, coping, and psychological support. These are integral to one's ego-identity and personal survival. They are motivational precursors of behavior. By understanding these as need-inspiring, we may understand the dynamics and true nature of the person. These factors were considered in identifying a need for the current study in which value statements of students were categorized, related to a projective test of cognitive style, and employed experimentally so as to elicit a behavior typical of an individual's perceptual system.
One hundred and 205 General Psychology students in the Spring term, 1970, were administered the Educational Testing Service Form V Hidden Figures Test, the former group, to facilitate an item analysis in the development of the experimental instrument, and the latter, to precipitate from the extremes of scoring two criterion groups, the field independent (N=46), and the field dependent (N=47). From these samples, 88 subjects, 44 field independent and 44 field dependent, were compared in an experimental consensus setting according to the Asch technique (Asch, 1961). A ten item value rating of original design derived from a survey of student values structured the experimental setting in which three of the four subjects being tested were plants. All responses were visible on an electrically activated board. The answering order rotated after each question. When the authentic subject answered last, the responses of the plants were visible to him, creating an experimental consensus pressure situation. When the authentic subject answered first, there was no consensus pressure exerted and he was under a control status.
Response norms were established for the field independent and the field dependent odd and even items according to t test item analysis. Those items were then reversed in polarity, creating a dissonant situation. In the experimental consensus for the field independent subjects, the plants used conservative-scripted responses, and for the field dependent subjects, used liberal-scripted responses. These were the experimental variables.
Statistical analysis included 64, 32 field independent and 32 field dependent subjects obtained by random selection from the original group of 88, according to the design of the study.
The one and two-tailed t test and the two factor analysis of variance were used to assess the degree of experimental influence in means between the field independent and the field dependent subjects.
Three inferences may be drawn from the study: that there is a difference in the values and attitudes in comparing field independent and field dependent subjects; that field dependent subjects are more susceptible to consensus pressure than field independent subjects and are more prone to change their opinions in the directions of the consensus; and finally, that the setting in which perception occurs is a motivating factor in determining an individual's behavior.
The statistical results suggest a partial acceptance of the main hypothesis.