Determining Cognitive Styles: Historical Perspective and Directions for Further Research
Cognitive style historically refers to a psychological dimension representing consistencies in an individual’s manner of cognitive functioning, particularly with respect to acquiring and processing information (Ausburn & Ausburn, 1978). Despite great popularity in the early 1950s, interest in cognitive style research began to decline in the 1970s. The fi eld was left without a coherent theory and without a complete understanding of how cognitive styles were related to other psychological constructs. In this chapter, we will use a historical approach to review the existing body of cognitive style research in order to reconstruct the general logic and development of the fi eld, as well as determine directions for future research. To facilitate following the major advances and accumulation of theoretical and experimental problems in cognitive style literature, discussion of the development of the fi eld is divided into four main periods (see Figure 2.1), which will be elaborated further as the review of cognitive style studies progresses.