Cognitive Styles of Conceptualization
The amplitude of our cultural heritage exceeds ten thousand times the carrying capacity of any human brain, and hence we must have ten thousand specialists to transmit it. To do away with the specialization of knowledge would be to produce a race of quiz winners and destroy our culture in favor of a universal dilettantism.
-- Michael Polanyi
Conceptualization is central to cognitive style theory in that one of the fundamental tenets of cognitive style is the consistent differences in the ways that individuals perceive and conceptualize their environment. Theories of perception, therefore, are important to an understanding of conceptualization as a cognitive style. How individuals interpret an experience will influence how future experiences will be perceived and evaluated. Over time, experiences influence individual perceptions of life's events and eventually serve as an index against which individuals make meaning of the world. Experiences not only provide opportunities for individuals to make meaning of the world, but in the process, experiences of the past provide knowledge for reflection.
Personality and self-concept are also linked to perception. In making sense of the world through how it is perceived, individuals are also evaluating their place within it. Experiences that undergird this perceptual process are essential to the emergence of individual self- concept formation. As individuals anticipate the future from past experiences, perceptions can undergo change and alter their values and self-concepts.
How individuals perceive events and issues is screened through y human receptors that serve as entry points for information to our