Theoretical Foundations of Cognitive Style
Psychological type as style is analogous to differences among batters in a baseball game. Cursory observation during a baseball game reveals a variety of batting styles--left or right handed, open or closed stance, bat held high or low, body crouched or erect, and others. These characteristic preferences represent style differences among hitters. However, these differences all occur against a background of commonality. All batters regardless of individual style, have much in common. Batters stand within the limits of the batter's box, watch the ball, use the bat, etc. In other words, styles of hitting differ across the common process according to certain typical differences. Each style has its advantages; none is inherently superior to the others.
-- Barger and Hoover
Several theories have emerged in education and psychology suggesting that individual learners employ various strategies in processing information during classroom experiences. Beginning in the 1950s reports concerning this individual variability have had various labels. Psychological differentiation seems to be the earliest label and it inferred a broad-based set of principles that expanded to include the relationship between individuals and their environment encompassing all human experience. Various disciplines approached this concept from the perspective of their individual professional practices. University professors and the teachers of children who were influenced by the theories of B. F. Skinner, for example, will in all likelihood bring a different perspective to the practice of teaching than those who were primarily influenced by the theories of Jean Piaget. It is therefore important for professionals to be knowledgeable about those philosophies and theories that are fundamental to their own practice.
H. Werner ( 1957) was among the first to introduce the concept of