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Simply defining the term learning style, as it turns out, is more difficult than it may seem.

The term “learning style” began to appear in the educational literature in the 1970s. Since that time, researchers and educators have attempted to determine both a standardized defining construct and a functional assessment instrument. The result has been an inundation of differing models and commercial measurements yielding questionable and inconclusive empirical results.

The terms learning style, cognitive style, and learning strategy are used interchangeably and imprecisely throughout. Keefe (1979) defines learning styles as the “composite of characteristic cognitive, affective, and physiological factors that serve as relatively stable indicators of how a learner perceives, interacts with, and responds to the learning…


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I grip harder

Desperate to hold on to the remnants

But they seep through the gaps of my fingers

And linger for just a moment

Like trails of smoke

Mocking me

I dig in

Desperate to save what is left

Of the world I know

But the sand shifts and gives way

Until there is little left

In my sweaty hands

But the desperate memory

Mocking me

I scramble

Desperate to back peddle

To a comfortable place

Among the familiar

But the trail is gone

The landmarks blurred

Dissolved into nothingness

Unreachable

Mocking me

I reach for the clock

Desperate…


The Evolution of Measuring Ability and Potential

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In general terms, various forms of psychological tests have been employed for the purpose of measuring “differences between individuals or between the reactions of the same individual under different circumstances” (Anastasi & Urbina, 1997, p. 2). More specifically, the measurement of ability represents one of the most widespread applications of psychology and psychometrics in everyday life. These assessments of ability range from instruments that test general mental ability — referred to as intelligence tests — to those that tap specific abilities — referred to as aptitude and special aptitude tests.

Intelligence Tests

General intelligence testing represents both one of the…


Context is everything — but should it be?

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Effective cross-cultural marketing requires an understanding, sensitivity and respect for alternative cultures, customs and beliefs. Failure to take these differences into consideration will not only render many marketing efforts ineffective or even counter-productive, but may also result in offending and alienating whole groups of people.

Ethics with regard to the business environment refers to rules of conduct that guide actions in the marketplace. These notions about right and wrong differ among individuals, organizations, and cultures. For example, some businesses believe it is acceptable to engage in any type of persuasive techniques even if it means giving the prospective customer false…


Causal attributions determine affective reactions to success and failure. — Weiner (1980)

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Like individuals in other contexts, students seek to understand the reasons for their failures. Weiner’s (1980) dimensions of attributions argued that the designation of responsibility is an important aspect of explanations, indicating a belief in whether or not the individual is in control of the cause of failure. Weiner (1994) further outlined the standard attribution sequence and its effect upon motivation and performance when an individual attributed failure to an uncontrollable lack of ability, as follows:

FailureLack of AbilityUncontrollableNot ResponsibleShame and EmbarrassmentDecline in Performance

In contrast, he depicted the sequence…


Figuring out the “why”

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Perspectives such as behaviorism and social cognitive theory show us how the consequence (reinforcement or punishment) of a particular behavior affects the extent to which the behavior is likely to appear again. Attribution theory has cast a new light on this notion, maintaining that the consequences of behavior will affect each person’s learning and future behavior differently, depending on how the individual interprets those consequences. Thus, motivation theorists consider this aspect of attribution to be key in the development of learned behavior.

In the 18th century, Hume (1739) argued that assuming there are causes for everything that happens is an…

Donna L Roberts, PhD (Psych Pstuff)

Writer and university professor researching media psych, generational studies, human and animal rights, and the intersection of art and psychology

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