Cognitive Styles in Infancy and Early Childhood

Cognitive Styles in Infancy and Early Childhood

Cognitive Styles in Infancy and Early Childhood

Cognitive Styles in Infancy and Early Childhood

Excerpt

Within almost any specialized area of psychology, a period of intensive research activity is eventually followed by an integrated and critical review, taking stock of what has been accomplished. Where the field is reasonably circumscribed, such reviews either make their way into the appropriate scholarly journals or appear as chapters in handbooks or other kinds of edited volumes. There are times, however, when the domain of interest has achieved so wide a scope that nothing short of monographic treatment can do adequate justice to it. This is clearly the current state of affairs in respect to the area of cognitive styles.

In the course of the past five years, I have been the author or coauthor of three separate book chapters devoted to cognitive styles in whole or in part (see Chapter 1). The first of these chapters concerned cognitive-style research in school-age children, the second focused on educational implications, and the third examined cognitive styles from a life-span perspective, with particular emphasis on the adult period.

Given this prior work, I should not have been surprised when Michael Lewis phoned me in January 1974 to ask whether I would be interested in contributing a chapter on cognitive styles in infancy and early childhood to a volume on Origins of Intelligence that he was editing for Plenum. I had, after all, been doing research on and writing extensively about cognitive styles for quite a few years. Nevertheless, I was in fact surprised by Dr.. Lewis' invitation and rather reluctant to accept it. There were obvious reasons for this reluctance on my part. Only a minute portion of my own research was based on children of preschool age, and so it seemed a bit presumptuous to undertake an authoritative review based on age groups with which I had had such limited research experience. There was an even more practical reason, however, for my great hesitation. Although I was aware of a small number of studies concerned with cognitive styles in early childhood, I honestly did not believe at the time that the amount of available empirical information was sufficient to warrant the preparation of a book chapter.

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