Sport selection as a function of psychological differentiation
McLear, Charlene A.
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This study was designed to investigate the relationship of field-dependence-independence (FDI) to sport selection. FDI is a perceptual quality dealing with the ability to separate objects from their surrounding field. Field-independence defines the ability to accomplish this separation, while field-dependence defines the lack of this ability. Voluminous research has indicated that FDI is greatly involved with personality as well as perception. It was felt that prior research on FDI and sport had neglected to take into account the combined effects of personality and perception. Thus, the present study attempted to utilize criteria for the classification of sports which would take into account both the perceptual and personality aspects of FDI. Furthermore, sports were classified in accordance with their practice situation rather than their game situation, as it was felt that the practice situation, with its greater time requirement, would require the greatest FDI compatibility. As a subproblem, mirror tracing performance was investigated as a possible alternative to the embedded-figures test and the rod-and- frame test--two commonly accepted tests of FDI. Subjects were 91 college women athletes. Each subject was administered an embedded-figures test (EFT), rod-and-frame test (RFT), and mirror tracing (MT) test. In addition, EFT and RFT scores were standardized and summed to yield a field-dependence-independence Index for each subject. Sports were divided into group practice sports and individual practice sports, based upon whether or not more than one person was required for practice. The individual practice sports were then further divided into stable frame of reference sports and changing frame of reference sports according to the perceptual quality involved. The group practice sports were not subdivided, as it was felt that the sports included in this group had similar perceptual requirements. Analysis of variance was used to analyze the data by comparing group practice sports, stable frame of reference individual sports, and changing frame of reference individual sports. Results yielded a significant F-ratio at the .05 level for the field-dependence-independence Index. A Sheffe's test indicated significant findings for group practice sports vs. stable frame of reference individual sports, and group practice sports vs. changing frame of reference individual sports. T-tests also revealed participants in group practice sports to be significantly more field-dependent than participants in individual practice sports in the embedded-figures test, rod-and-frame test, and field-dependence-independence Index. Participants in stable frame of reference individual sports were also found to be significantly more field-dependent than participants in changing frame of reference individual sports in the embedded-figures test and field-dependence-independence Index. Low, positive correlations between mirror tracing performance and the embedded-figures test, rod-and-frame test, and field-dependence-independence Index were also found. The following conclusions were drawn from this study: 1. Participants in sports requiring group practice situations tend to be more field-dependent than participants in sports utilizing individual practice. 2. Participants in sports involving a stable frame of reference tend to be more field-dependent than participants in sports involving a changing frame of reference. 3. Mirror tracing performance correlates significantly (p < .05) with performance on the embedded-figures test (r = .242, p < .05) and the rod-and-frame test (r = .407, p < .001), and should be investigated as a possible alternative to the EFT and RFT.