Russian Language Journal


cognitive, research, evaluation, National Foreign Language Center


The E&L Cognitive Styles Construct was developed in 1997 and copyrighted in 2002 by Ehrman, director of the Research, Evaluation, and Development Division at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), and Leaver, then an associate at the National Foreign Language Center. It was developed in order to organize the proliferation of validated cognitive styles into a single instrument with ten easy-to-understand subscales specifically for the field of foreign or second language (L2) learning and teaching (Leaver 1997, 2000; Ehrman and Leaver 2002). The first two subscales, which relate to fields of the mind, however, have often created confusion or misunderstanding among users. This article clarifies these dimensions through deconstruction of the category of field independence/field dependence (henceforth field [in]dependence), together with an examination and elucidation of the intrinsically related and intersecting category of field sensitivity/field insensitivity (henceforth field [in]sensitivity).