Groundbreaking: We can predict cognitive styles, and here’s how

New framework re-envisions cognitive styles based on revolutionary science; has huge impact for education

cognitive-style-educationWhile the education field’s acceptance of learning styles is helping students receive more options for learning, students are often lumped into one category without any explanation of why they prefer to learn a certain way. However, a new cognitive matrix is about to change education’s perspective once again.

According to a work-in-progress cognitive matrix developed by noted psychologists and neuroscientists, a student’s learning style occurs for a reason—and can be predicted for the future.

Using a wide range of available evidence on cognitive styles, researchers were able to synthesize cognitive styles as proposed by different theories in one comprehensive and accessible framework.

“This new taxonomy of cognitive styles offers a clear categorization of different types of styles from basic and applied fields and thus eliminates the confusing labeling of styles, making it possible to integrate the findings on individual differences in cognition across different disciplines,” says researcher Maria Kozhevnikov, associate professor in psychology at the National University of Singapore; associate in Neuroscience at Massachusetts General Hospital; and lead author of the new report.

“Just like the chemical periodic table of elements, which allows scientists to predict the existence of elements and their compounds, the cognitive style matrix allows us to predict the properties of styles, predict unknown styles, and derive rules by which ‘compound’ styles form,” said the Association for Psychological Science (APS) in a statement.

Robert Sternberg, Department of Human Development, Cornell University noted that one of the main reasons why the matrix is so important is because educators tend to focus heavily only on student ability, without much thought or evidence as to why students learn certain ways or respond to different classroom practices.

“Part of the reason that so much variance has been unaccounted for in…behavior may be the lack of meaningful consideration of cognitive styles,” he said.

(Next page: How the cognitive style matrix works)

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