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Cognitive and

Thinking Styles

Cognitive styles refer to the

preferred way an individual
Cognitive style is usually
describe as a personality
dimension which influences
attitudes, values, and social

A number of cognitive styles have been

identified over the years. Field
Independence versus Field
Dependence is probably the most well
know style. It refers to a tendency to
approach the environment in an
analytical, as opposed to a global

Field Independent individuals

can easily separate important
details from a complex or
confusing background.
Field Dependent students find it
more difficult to see the parts in a
complex whole.

Other cognitive styles that have been identified:

Scanning differences in the extent and
intensity of attention resulting in variation in
vividness of experience and the span of
Leveling vs. Sharpening individual
variations in remembering that pertain to the
distinctiveness of memories and the tendency to
merge similar events.
Reflection vs. Impulsivity individual
consistencies in the speed of adequacy with
which alternative hypotheses are formed ad
responses made.
Conceptual Differentiation differences in
the tendency to categorize perceived
similarities among stimuli in terms of separate
concepts or dimension. ( Witkin, 1981 )

Thinking style is the

characteristic way of processing
It is the way one acquires
knowledge, acquires thoughts,
forms views, opinions, applies
ones values, solves problem,
make plans decisions, and
expresses one self to others.

Scientific research research identified two

distinct groups of people whose thinking
styles and therefore also learning needs, are
antipodal: Analytics and Holistics.
Strong Analytics (those who tend to
use their left brain hemisphere) people
who enjoy logic, details and follow
sequential step.
Strong Holistics (right brain
processors), on the other hand, need to
have an overall picture before they can
assimilate facts.

Professor Anthony Gregor, professor of curriculum

and instruction, at the University of Connecticut,
has divided Thinking styles into four groups:
1. Concrete Sequential Thinkers tend to based
in reality. They process information in an
ordered, sequential, linear way.
2. Concrete Random Thinkers are
experimenters. Like concrete sequentials, they
are based on reality, but are willing to take more
of a trial-and-error approach.
3. Abstract Random Thinkers organize
information through reflection, and thrive in
unstructured, people-oriented environments.
4. Abstract Sequential Thinkers love the world
of theory and abstract thought. They like to think
in concepts and analyze information. They make
great philosophers and research scientists.