A Study on the Relationship Between Reflective-impulsive Cognitive Styles and Oral Proficiency of EFL Learners


  • Can Chen Chongqing Normal University




reflective-impulsive cognitive style, oral ability, accuracy, fluency


With the focus of language teaching from teachers to students, the personal factors of language learners have become the focus of research. In 1964, Kagan and his colleagues proposed a reflective-impulsive cognitive style(R-I), a pair of opposing cognitive style that can be measured by Matching Familiar Figures Test (MFFT). Kagan believes that in dealing with cognitive tasks, holding a slow but accurate style is a reflective cognitive style, and holding a fast but inaccurate style is impulsive cognitive style. What’s more, different cognitive styles of learners affect language learning. For English learners, oral English is connected with the output of language, and students' oral ability is an important part of pragmatic competence. The researcher uses MFFT20, combined with observation, interview, oral test to evaluate the oral performance and ability of 80 high school students in a middle school in Chongqing. By analyzing the correlation between the reflective-impulsive cognitive styles and oral English ability, the following results are obtained. First, reflective cognitive style and impulsive cognitive style account for the same proportion of students. And reflective-impulsive cognitive style affects the oral ability of English learners. Second, students with different cognitive styles have great differences in oral performance. Third, generally speaking, English learners with reflective cognitive style perform better in oral accuracy than English students with impulsive cognitive style, while English learners with impulsive cognitive style perform better in oral fluency than students with reflective style.


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