Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

The Relationship between Thinking Styles and Personality Types

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

The Relationship between Thinking Styles and Personality Types

Article excerpt

This study investigated the relationship between thinking styles and personality types. The participants were 367 third-year students at Dokuz Eylül University who responded to the Thinking Styles Inventory (TSI; Stemberg & Wagner, 1992) based on Sternberg's theory of mental self-government and the Self-Directed Search Scale (SDS; Holland, Powell, & Fritzsch, 1994) based on Holland's theory of vocational choices. The results showed a close correspondence between thinking styles and personality types. Another finding of this study was that thinking styles differ according to gender and major fields of study. The implications of both findings are discussed in detail.

Keywords: thinking styles, personality types.

In recent years an active interest in the study of style seems to have been revived. This particular interest has been presented through various types of study. Many studies have tried to clarify style and classify the different conceptualizations (Biggs, 1994; Claxton & Murrel, 1987; Curry, 1983; Guilford, 1980; Messick, 1994; Murray-Harvey, 1994; Riding & Cheema, 1991), although without doubt, the most important studies to have analyzed the concept of style, its origins, its development and the different explicative theoretical models are those by Grigorenko and Sternberg (1995) and Rayner and Riding (1997). Nowadays, authors describe three distinct approaches in style conceptualization; cognition, personality, and activity centered (Duru, 2004; Grigorenko & Sternberg; Rayner & Riding).

The cognition-centered approach (1940-1970) focused upon individual differences in cognition and perception, resulting in the identification and description of several styles, abilities, and dimensions of cognitive processing (cognitive style). Rayner and Riding (1997) identified 17 different models (field-dependency/field-independency, analytic-holist, verbal-imager, etc.). The concept of cognitive style contains a general meaning related to the way in which information is processed. Brooks, Simutis, and O'Neil (1985) refer to the manner or mode of cognition (to the question of how). It is conceived to be bipolar (ranging from one extreme to a contrasting extreme). In addition, it is also seen as value-differentiated (each extreme has an adaptive value but in different circumstances) (Tiedemann, 1989).

The personality-centered approach dates from the 1970s and involves the study of style in relation to other individual personality characteristics. However, according to Rayner and Riding (p. 6) "there exists only the Myers-Briggs style model ... and ... there is little evidence of this tradition influencing the general development of style-based theory."

The activity-centered approach or learning-centered approach, focuses on styles in relation to various activities, settings, and environments. Researchers have especially emphasized the educational perspective and have developed a new concept, learning styles. Sternberg (1995) identified 13 different thinking styles. Rayner and Riding (1997) identified 12 different models organized into three groups. These correspond to the dimension of the learning process emphasized by each researcher: process-based (Kolb, Entwistle, Biggs, etc.); preference-based (Price, Dunn, Riechman-Grasha, etc.); and cognitive-skills-based (Reinert, Letteri, Keefe, etc.) All of these are discussed in Cano-García, & Hughes (2000).

Sternberg (1995) proposes that thinking involves the representation and processing of information in the mind. One way to view thought is to consider critical thinking in which individuals consciously direct mental processes to find a meaningful solution to a problem as opposed to noncritical thinking, where individuals commonly follow customary thought patterns. These different styles of thinking are appropriate for various tasks. In 1988 Sternberg suggested the theory of mental self-government. Sternberg (1992) examined the nature of thinking styles and impact of current forms of educational assessment on students with different thinking-style profiles. …

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