You'll actually find that the responses for UI (and your question) is variable and based on both gender and age.
To design a form that will appeal to an older generation, you'll want to avoid peripheral information. This is a design decision that Apple stumbled upon - and with the passing of Steve Jobs, it appears that apple marketing is attempting to capitalize on this "discovery".
So - what is a good way to break it down?
That depends on your demographic.
- Younger users will be more tolerant to smaller chunks.
- Older users will interpret smaller chunks as peripheral (and
If reducing application abandonment is the fundamental issue, Good design that is relevant to your key demographic will increase form completion.
If the customers have already committed to the process and it is a mandatory process that just happens to be done online? Then the UX is more than just UI preference.