Thinking Styles and Modes of Thinking: Implications for Education and Research

Department of Education, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.
The Journal of Psychology Interdisciplinary and Applied (Impact Factor: 0.86). 05/2002; 136(3):245-61. DOI: 10.1080/00223980209604153
Source: PubMed


The author investigated the relationship of thinking styles to modes of thinking. Participants were 371 freshmen (aged 18 and 19) from the University of Hong Kong. Participants responded to the Thinking Styles Inventory (R. J. Sternnberg & R. K. Wagner, 1992) and the Style of Learning and Thinking (Youth Form; E. P. Torrance, B. McCarthy, & M. T. Kolesinski, 1988). A major finding was that creativity generating and complex thinking styles were significantly positively correlated with the holistic mode of thinking but significantly negatively correlated with the analytic mode of thinking. Thinking styles that denote the tendency to norm favoring and simplistic information processing were significantly positively correlated with the analytic mode of thinking and significantly negatively correlated with the holistic mode of thinking. In a preliminary conclusion, it appears that the thinking style construct overlaps the mode of thinking construct. Implications of this finding for teachers and researchers are delineated.

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    • "These students also like learning facts and they are good at memorizing facts. These characteristics could also be attributed to students adopting a surface approach to learning because these students concentrate on memorizing facts (De Boer & Bothma, 2003; Zhang, 2002b). "

    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015
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    • "In this study, two main factors of Chinese thinking style, connection and change, were placed into an organizational context in order to explore their influence on Chinese employee creativity. On one hand, former studies have indicated a positive relationship between the holistic mode of thinking and individual's creativity (Zhang, 2002a), and suggested that individuals integrate different information from a comprehensive perspective following the holistic mode of thinking. Thus, it is possible that some overlaps can be found between holistic thinking and connection, given the fact that both concepts emphasize interdependent relations among different things or different parts of the same thing, which implys that connection may have influence on individual creativity. "
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    ABSTRACT: Creativity has long been a popular research question among psychologists. Studies in the past few decades have explored the effect of both internal individual factors and external environmental factors on creativity. The findings help shed light on how we can cultivate and further tap creativity. With the increasing role of culture in the study of psychology in the recent decade, researchers have now begun to turn their attention to the study of how culture can influence creativity. Answering this question in a scientific way is of profound significance to the ongoing educational reform in China. Based on the unique thinking style of Chinese people and focusing on knowledge workers engaged in creative activities, our study explored the relationships among thinking style, organizational commitment and creativity of Chinese employees. We theorized that the thinking style of connection and change would influence employee creativity both directly and indirectly. Data analysis from a sample of 134 Chinese subordinates supported our hypothesis, indicating that connection was correlated positively to creativity, whereas change was correlated negatively. Furthermore, connection was found to have a moderating effect on the relationship between organizational commitment and creativity; and the influence of change on employee creativity was partially mediated by organizational commitment. Our findings are of great theoretical and practical significance for understanding the mechanisms the effect of thinking style.
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    • "Furthermore, existing experimental research has revealed that teaching that takes thinking styles into account makes a significant difference in students' academic performance (e.g., Fan 2006). Finally, the Thinking Styles Inventory has been tested with other well-established inventories that measure intellectual styles, including the Group Embedded Figures Test (Witkin et al. 1971; see Zhang 2004b) and the Style of Learning and Thinking (Torrance et al. 1988; see for example, Zhang 2002). However, efforts in differentiating these styles from abilities have been rare. "
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    ABSTRACT: This article reports two studies that aim at further distinguishing intellectual styles from abilities by taking into account the confounding effects of age and gender on the relationship between these two constructs. Two independent groups of secondary school students responded to the Thinking Styles Inventory-Revised and took the Sternberg Triarchic Abilities Test (Level H). Both sets of results suggested that although statistically significant relationships could be identified between thinking styles and abilities, when age and gender were put under control, styles and abilities became fundamentally independent. Implications of this finding for students and teachers are discussed. La présente contribution propose de discuter deux études dont l’objectif était d’élargir la différenciation entre styles intellectuels et habiletés en prenant en compte les effets complexes de l’âge et du sexe dans la relation entre ces deux concepts. Deux groupes indépendants de lycéens ont été interrogés sur deux types de questionnaires : Thinking Styles Inventory-Revised et Sternberg Triarchic Abilities Test (Level H). Les résultats montrent que même si un certain nombre de relations peuvent s’établir statistiquement entre styles intellectuels et habiletés, lorsque l’âge et le sexe deviennent les facteurs dominants, les styles et les habiletés deviennent fondamentalement indépendants. Dans cette présentation, nous analyserons les implications de cette recherche pour les enseignants et les apprenants. KeywordsAbilities-Age-Gender-Intellectual styles-Thinking styles
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