Epilogue: Another Mysterious Affair at Styles
Robert J. Sternberg
In The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Agatha Christie (1995) created a convoluted murder mystery—the first involving her famous detective Hercule Poirot—with a surplus of suspects and an abundance of reasons why each suspect might be the guilty party. In the end, even those who might think they knew who the murderer was are likely to be surprised.
There is another mysterious affair at styles, this one also involving many suspects. The mystery is why styles research, so active and unified under the “cognitive styles” banner in the middle of the century, seems to be so much less unified and active by the end of the century. Although several research programs are ongoing at the present time, these programs have not experienced the kind of metaphorical centripetal force that creates a unified active field of research. The programs have remained largely isolated, both from each other and from the fields into which they might fit, such as personality or cognition research. Why should research programs on styles have remained largely isolated, both from each other and from mainstream field of research, at the same time that research on trait theories of personality (e.g., Big Five theory) and on psychometric ability theories of the mind (e.g., g theory) have thrived? There are many suspects,