Journal of Computing in Higher Education

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 45–67 | Cite as

Cognitive styles among computer systems students: Preliminary findings

  • Sarah MooreEmail author
  • Donncha O’Maidin
  • Annette McElligott


COGNITIVE STYLE is a “potent learner characteristic that can have a significant effect on learner achievement” (Hayes & Allinson, 1997, p. 185). However, further exploration is required before links among cognitive style, performance, and other aspects of learners’ experience are more clearly understood. This study explores the relationship among cognitive style, performance, gender, and communication in a particular educational setting. The sample consisted of 145 new computer-systems students at the beginning of a program of study in their first year of higher education. Participants completed the “Cognitive Style Index” (Allinson & Hayes, 1996) and provided additional demographic data, including gender and recent academic performance. Qualitative information about learning expectations was also sought. Findings show a significant relationship between performance and cognitive style. Students whose cognitive style scores indicate a preference for analytical thinking are significantly more likely to have entered university with above average performance scores than those with a preference for intuition. A significant relationship was also identified between cognitive style and types of qualitative statements used to describe learning expectations. The educational implications of these findings are explored and discussed.


cognitive style analytical intuitive academic performance learning expectations 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Moore
    • 1
    Email author
  • Donncha O’Maidin
    • 2
  • Annette McElligott
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Teaching and LearningUniversity of LimerickLimerickIreland
  2. 2.Computer Science and Information SystemsUniversity of LimerickIreland

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