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Sternberg's theory of cognitive styles

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Robert Sternberg proposed a theory of cognitive styles in 1997.

The four forms of mental self-government are hierarchical, monarchic, oligarchic, and anarchic. The hierarchic style holds multiple goals simultaneously and prioritizes them. The oligarchic style is similar but differs in involving difficulty prioritizing. The monarchic style, in comparison, focuses on a single activity until completion. The anarchic style resists conformity to "systems, rules, or particular approaches to problems."

The two levels of mental self-government are local and global. The local style focuses on more specific and concrete problems. The global style, in comparison, focuses on more abstract and global problems.

The two scopes of mental self-government are internal and external. The internal style is the preference to work independently. The external style is the preference to work in collaboration.

The four leanings of mental self-government are the liberal, legislative, executive and conservative. The liberal style involves the attempt to change "existing rules and procedures". The legislative style adds an additional requirement that these changes conform to the individual(s)' ideas. The executive style, in comparison, involves following tradition. The conservative style involves the additional requirement that the ideas are the individual(s)'.

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