In this instrument you should put yourself in the position of someone who must gather and evaluate information. The purpose is to investigate the ways you think about information you encounter. There are no right or wrong answers, and one alternative is just as good as another. Try to indicate the ways you do or would respond, not the ways you think you should respond.

Follow these instructions:

  • For each scenario there are three pairs of alternatives.
  • For each pair, select the alternative that comes closest to the way you would respond.
  • Answer each item. If you are not sure, make your best guess.
  • When you are finished answering all the questions, press the button at the bottom of the exercise to tabulate your score.

Next, consult the scoring key in the The Cognitive Style Instrument Section of the answers page as a basis for comparing your scores with others.

Please choose the appropriate alternative:

(Choose a. or b. for Questions 1-24)

Suppose you are a scientist in NASA whose job it is to gather information about the moons of Saturn. Which of the following would you be more interested in investigating?

1. a. How the moons are similar to one another
b. How the moons differ from one another
2. a. How the whole system of moons operates
b. The characteristics of each moon
3. a. How Saturn and its moons differ from Earth and its moon
b. How Saturn and its moons are similar to Earth and its moon

Suppose you are the chief executive of a company and have asked division heads to make presentations at the end of the year. Which of the following would be more appealing to you?

4. a. A presentation analyzing the details of the data
b. A presentation focused on the overall perspective
5. a. A presentation showing how the division contributed to the company as a whole
b. A presentation showing the unique contributions of the division
6. a. Details of how the division performed
b. General summaries of performance data

Suppose you are visiting an Asian country, and you are writing home to tell about your trip. Which of the following would be most typical of the letter you would write?

7. a. A detailed description of people and events
b. General impressions and feelings
8. a. A focus on similarities of our culture and theirs
b. A focus on the uniqueness of their culture
9. a. Overall, general impressions of the experience
b. Separate, unique impressions of parts of the experience

Suppose you are attending a concert featuring a famous symphony orchestra. Which of the following would you be most likely to do?

10. a. Listen for the parts of individual instruments
b. Listen for the harmony of all the instruments together
11. a. Pay attention to the overall mood associated with the music
b. Pay attention to the separate feelings associated with different parts of the music
12. a. Focus on the overall style of the conductor
b. Focus on how the conductor interprets different parts of the score

Suppose you are considering taking a job with a certain organization. Which of the following would you be more likely to do in deciding whether or not to take the job?

13. a. Systematically collect information on the organization
b. Rely on personal intuition or inspiration
14. a. Consider primarily the fit between you and the job
b. Consider primarily the politics needed to succeed in the organization
15. a. Be methodical in collecting data and making a choice
b. Mainly consider personal instincts and gut feelings

Suppose you inherit some money and decide to invest it. You learn of a new high-technology firm that has just issued stock. Which of the following is most likely to be true of your decision to purchase the firm's stock?

16. a. You would invest on a hunch
b. You would invest only after a systematic investigation of the firm
17. a. You would be somewhat impulsive in deciding to invest
b. You would follow a pre-set pattern in making your decision
18. a. You could rationally justify your decision to invest in this firm and not in another
b. It would be difficult to rationally justify your decision to invest in this firm and not another

Suppose you are being interviewed on TV, and you are being asked the following questions. Which alternative would you be most likely to select?

19. How are you most likely to cook?
a. With a recipe
b. Without a recipe
20. How would you predict the Super Bowl winner next year?
a. After systematically researching the personnel and records of the teams
b. On a hunch or by intuition
21. Which games do you prefer?
a. Games of chance (like Bingo)
b. Chess, checkers, or Scrabble

Suppose you are a manager and need to hire an executive assistant. Which of the following would you be most likely to do in the process?

22. a. Interview each applicant using a set outline of questions
b. Concentrate on your personal feelings and instincts about each applicant
23. a. Consider primarily the personality fit between yourself and the candidates
b. Consider the match between the precise job requirements and the candidates' capabilities
24. a. Rely on factual and historical data on each candidate in making a choice
b. Rely on feelings and impressions in making a choice

After you have answered ALL 24 questions, please press the button to tabulate your scores.
Press to clear the page.

These are your scores on the two dimensions of cognitive style:

1. Gathering Information
Your Score Average Males Average Females
Intuitive Score
5.98 6.04
Sensing Score
6.02 5.96

2. Evaluating Information
Your Score Average Males Average Females
Thinking Score
6.08 6.94
Feeling Score
5.20 5.06

Compare your score with the averages.

To see how these scores were computed, you can go to The Cognitive Style Instrument Section of the answers page.

"Developing Self-Awareness" exercises taken from Developing Management Skills by David A. Whetton and Kim S. Cameron