Some Implications of Educational Cognitive Style as it Relates to Critical Thinking Skills

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Steven Schwartz


The literature relevant to cognitive styles contains many psychological theories specifically dealing with how humans encode knowledge. Because this study was designed to relate cognition to critical thinking skills in young children, only a few psychological theories will be discussed at length. The work of Witkin in “Field Dependence” (1949) and Harvey in “Cognitive Complexity” (1961) are most closely associated with and contained information on critical thinking skills in young children. Interest in cognitive psychology and cognitive style, and its possible application to education has recently intensified. Many studies emphasize the structure rather than the content of thought and refer to the way in which individuals conceptually organize their environments.


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