Accounting educators have long been interested in the effects of cognitive style on student performance. Research suggests that students' cognitive styles can moderate their success across a variety of assessment methods (i.e., multiple-choice versus written reports versus case study) (Au 1997) and instructional methodologies (Ott et al. 1990). Not clear, however, is the impact of cognitive style on a student's accounting task performance. Several studies have examined the relationship between accounting students' cognitive styles and their performance on accounting tasks, but the results have been mixed (Jones and Davidson 2007; Togo 1993; Arunachalam et al. 1997; Swanson et al. 2005). Using Chan's (1996) theory of cognitive misfit, this study proposes that diminished performance will occur when there is incongruence between a student's cognitive style and the cognitive demands of an accounting task. The Felder-Solomon Index of Learning Styles was used to classify students' cognitive styles as global or sequential. In an experiment involving 138 students, the effects of cognitive misfit negatively impacted performance on a managerial accounting task, and the effect was most pronounced for students with global styles. The current study improves our understanding of cognitive factors that impact students' accounting task performance.

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