Attractiveness Of Students With Convergent And Divergent Learning Styles To Teachers With Convergent And Divergent Learning Styles (bias)

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Counseling Psychology


Two groups of thinkers each exhibiting a different type of cognitive excellence, are described in the literature as convergers and divergers. Patterns of behavior associated with the dominant learning style have resulted in the classification of students as convergers and divergers. Convergers have been described as favored over divergers by teachers. Although Guilford and Jackson (1961) found both convergent and divergent students to be equal in scholastic performance, when teachers were asked to rate the same convergent and divergent students on the degree to which they enjoyed having them in class the convergers were, quite clearly, more desirable as pupils. Studies suggesting teacher preference for the convergent student ignored the learning style of the teacher making the ratings (Biggs, Fitzgerald and Atkinson, 1971).The primary purpose of this study was to determine the attractiveness of students with convergent and divergent learning styles to teachers with convergent and divergent learning styles. A sample of convergent and divergent students and faculty members was identified, from the population selected for the study, by using as criteria the scores obtained from the administration of Ravens Advanced Progressive Matrices and Guilford's Uses of Objects Test. Attractiveness of students to faculty members was determined from ratings assigned to students by faculty on a semantic differential scale. A two by two factorial design was used in the study. The independent variables were the convergent and divergent learning styles of the students and faculty members. The dependent variable was the attractiveness score of students obtained from the teachers by means of ratings on the semantic differential scale.The major finding of the study is that convergent and divergent teachers found students having the same learning style as their own significantly more attractive. These results suggest that a teacher bias may exist against students with a learning style different from that of the teacher. The student with a different learning style is described by the teacher in less attractive terms than the student with the same learning style as the teacher. This bias in favor of the student with the same learning style as the teacher may have affective consequences for students.


Education, Guidance and Counseling

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