The Effect of Visual and Verbal Learning Style Preferences on Metacognitive Judgments

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


Psychology and Special Education

Date of Award

Fall 2022


Many students and educators continue to believe that learning is enhanced when instruction is tailored to one’s learning style (i.e., the meshing hypothesis; Pashler et al., 2009) despite a lack of empirical support for the idea. To the contrary, most research on the topic has shown that memory does not benefit from a match between presentation modality and learning style (see Coffield et al., 2004; Cuevas, 2015; Pashler et al., 2009), and some have suggested that such beliefs may yield harmful consequences (Dekker et al., 2012; Pasquinelli, 2012; Willingham et al., 2015). However, recent findings suggest that learning style beliefs may influence metacognitive judgments despite the negligible to nonexistent impact that learning styles seem to exert on learning outcomes (Knoll et al., 2017). The purpose of the present study was to examine the impact of learning style preferences and beliefs on learners’ metacognitive judgments and associative recognition memory performance. Visual and verbal learning style preferences were indexed by scores on the revised Verbalizer-Visualizer Questionnaire (VVQ; Kirby et al., 1988), and several types of metacognitive judgments were collected. Participants studied a series of picture pairs and word pairs followed by an associative recognition test. Results showed that some metacognitive judgments shared a significant relationship with learning style preferences, whereas other judgments did not. Some aspects of associative recognition memory performance were also impacted by learning style preferences. Finally, some findings pointed to a potential priming effect, such that asking participants questions about their learning style prior to the study and judgment phases may have influenced the degree to which learning style beliefs were incorporated into judgments of learning. More research is needed to clarify the relationships between learning style beliefs and metacognitive judgments.


Benton H. Pierce

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Psychology