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The Effect of Egocentric vs. Gravitational Instructions on the Rod-and-Frame Test

Flannagan, Michael; Goodenough, Donald R.; Sigman, Eric
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
National Institute of Mental Health, Body Image, Cognitive Style, Field Dependence Independence, Rod and Frame Test, Spatial Ability


It has previously been shown that a tilted frame induces a shift in perceived body position opposite in direction to the frame tilt. If this illusion of self-tilt is involved in rod-and-frame test performance, then instructions to adjust the rod to the body midline (egocentric instructions) should result in less rod adjustment error than the standard instructions for the rod-and-frame test to adjust the rod to the gravitational vertical. In effect, egocentric instructions should subtract the gravitational component from the total rod-and-frame effect. Nine relatively fielddependen subjects made rod adjustments under both instructional conditions and while seated in erect and tilted positions. Significant differences between instructional conditions were found, as expected. Other rod-and-frame studies are discussed in view of these findings. (20pp.)

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