Perspectives on Thinking, Learning, and Cognitive Styles

Edited by Robert J. Sternberg, Li-fang Zhang

© 2001 – Routledge

e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

This volume presents the most comprehensive, balanced, and up-to-date coverage of theory and research on cognitive, thinking, and learning styles, in a way that:

* represents diverse theoretical perspectives;

* includes solid empirical evidence testing the validity of these perspectives; and

* shows the application of these perspectives to school situations, as well as situations involving other kinds of organizations.

International representation is emphasized, with chapters from almost every major leader in the field of styles. Each chapter author has contributed serious theory and/or published empirical data--work that is primarily commercial or that implements the theories of others.

The book's central premise is that cognitive, learning, and thinking styles are not abilities but rather preferences in the use of abilities. Traditionally, many psychologists and educators have believed that people's successes and failures are attributable mainly to individual differences in abilities. However, for the past few decades research on the roles of thinking, learning, and cognitive styles in performance within both academic and nonacademic settings has indicated that they account for individual differences in performance that go well beyond abilities. New theories better differentiate styles from abilities and make more contact with other psychological literatures; recent research, in many cases, is more careful and conclusive than are some of the older studies.

Cognitive, learning, and thinking styles are of interest to educators because they predict academic performance in ways that go beyond abilities, and because taking styles into account can help teachers to improve both instruction and assessment and to show sensitivity to cultural and individual diversity among learners. They are also of interest in business, where instruments to assess styles are valuable in selecting and placing personnel. The state-of-the-art research and theory in this volume will be of particular interest to scholars and graduate students in cognitive and educational psychology, managers, and others concerned with intellectual styles as applied in educational, industrial, and corporate settings.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface. R.J. Sternberg, E.L. Grigorenko, A Capsule History of Theory and Research on Styles. J.S. Renzulli, D.Y. Dai, Abilities, Interests, and Styles as Aptitude for Learning: A Person-Situation Interaction Perspective. R. Riding, The Nature and Effects of Cognitive Style. J. Biggs, Enhancing Learning: A Matter of Style or Approach? N. Entwistle, V. McCune, P. Walker, Conceptions, Styles, and Approaches Within Higher Education: Analytical Abstractions in Everyday Experience. G.M. Boulton-Lewis, F. Marton, L.A. Wilss, The Lived Space of Learning: An Inquiry Into Indigenous Australian University Students' Experiences of Studying. D. Watkins, Correlates of Approaches to Learning: A Cross-Cultural Meta-Analysis. L-F. Zhang, R.J. Sternberg, Thinking Styles Across Cultures: Their Relationships With Student Learning. D.A. Kolb, R.E. Boyatzis, C. Mainemelis, Experiential Learning Theory: Previous Research and New Directions. R.J. Sternberg, Epilogue: Another Mysterious Affair at Styles.

About the Series

Educational Psychology Series

This series has several goals:

  • to present the most significant contemporary theory and research on psychology as it is applied to education at all levels – elementary; secondary, and tertiary;
  • to present this research in a way that is relevant and accessible to both psychologists and educators;
  • to explore new ideas in instruction and assessment that are grounded in theory and tested in classrooms;
  • to inform and influence educational policy through the establishment of a solid base of theory and research rather than through the fads and fashions that come and go with the times but that have no base in the psychology of instruction;
  • to achieve further integration in the perspectives of education and psychology, as well as to draw together various fields of psychology in order to capitalize on their potential contributions to educational outcomes;
  • to explore notions of school reform that are linked to our knowledge about students’ learning, thinking, and motivation; and
  • to disseminate ideas from around the world, including Europe, Asia, and Africa, as well as the Americas.


This series will publish monographs and edited books that advance these goals through new and innovative contributions to educational psychology. Edited books must have a sense of coherence, contain unifying introductory and concluding chapters, and be internally consistent in scope and level of writing.

Potential authors and volume editors are encouraged to take risks and to explore with the series editors nontraditional points of vie wand methodologies. Interdisciplinary contributions involving theory and methodology from diverse fields, such as computer science, philosophy, linguistics, anthropology, and neuroscience, are especially welcome, but all contributions must be readable and interesting to psychologists and educators of varying backgrounds. Authors and editors from all around the world are encouraged to submit proposals.

Examples of topics that would be of interest include, but are not limited to, creative techniques for instruction, nontraditional forms of assessment, student learning, student motivation, organizational structure and climate, teacher education, new conceptions of abilities and achievement, analyses of cognitive structures and representations in various disciplines, expertise in teaching and administration, use of technology in the schools, at-risk children, adult education, and styles of learning and thinking.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Educational Psychology