A capsule history of theory and research on styles

Robert J. Sternberg, Elena L. Grigorenko

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

29 Scopus citations


In psychology, the idea of style was formally introduced by Allport when he referred to style as a means of identifying distinctive personality types or types of behavior. The more specific term, cognitive style, refers to an individual's way of processing information. The term was developed by cognitive psychologists conducting research into problem solving and sensory and perceptual abilities. This research provided some of the first evidence for the existence of distinctive styles. For example, Conway, in discussing the philosophy of science, stated that philosophical differences among psychologists may be related to individual differences in their personality factors and cognitive styles. Vernon examined the historical roots of cognitive styles in early 20th-century German typological theories and then critically analyzed contemporary approaches. In the 1970s, the concept of style was further developed as it gained popularity among educators. As a result, the notion of styles developed in two directions through research in educational and vocational psychology.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPerspectives on Thinking, Learning, and Cognitive Styles
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781135663629
ISBN (Print)0805834311, 9780805834307
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014

Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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