Institute of Learning Styles Research

Dissertation Abstracts

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Abstract Title

Hutchison, W. (1992). Dominant perceptual modality element and learning performance: A factorial study (Doctoral dissertation, University of South Florida, Tampa, 1992). Dissertation Abstracts International, 53(03A), 0690.


The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of instructional method, of dominant perceptual modality element, and perceptual modality elements on undergraduate college student learning of basic social work knowledge. A 2x2x2 factorial design was utilized to determine main and interaction effects of the three independent variables on the dependent variable. Two hundred and ninety subjects volunteered and completed the study. Of this group, 131 met the pre-established criteria age (20-40 years), education (undergraduate level) and perceptual modality element dominance for statistical analysis.

The print and aural elements of the Multi-Modal Paired Associates Learning Test-Revised (MMPALT II) were administered to all subjects. Scores were calculated and the subjects were placed in one of four categories (high print, high aural, low print, low aural). Subjects from each of the four categories were then randomly assigned to either the print or the auditory treatment. After all subjects were administered the Generic Conceptual Model Test (GCMT) as a pre-test of basic social work knowledge, either the print or the auditory treatment was used to present information regarding the Generic Conceptual Model. Following the treatment, the GCMT was again administered as a post-test

Three factor analysis of variance was performed on the group means to analyze the study’s four hypotheses. The mean change scores of subjects in the high dominance groups were significantly higher than subjects in the low dominance groups. All other tested hypothesis and interaction effects were not significant.

Reliability of the GCMT and the print and aural elements of the MMPALT II was calculated by Cronbach’s alpha and yielded the following: GCMT Pre-Test–.89; GCMT Post-Test–.91; GCMT Pre-Post Test pooled–.97; MMPALT II print element–.81; and .75 for the MMPALT II aural element. All of the Cronbach alphas exceeded the minimum .70 standard for reliability.

The print and aural elements of the MMPALT II showed evidence that student learning performance was affected by perceptual dominance in these areas. It was concluded that perceptual modality dominance as specified in this study is a valid measure to predict student learning performance on a memory level task. Further research to assess how to improve learning performance of low dominant learners was suggested.

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