2012 | 43 | 1 | 40-49
Article title

Need for closure and cognitive structuring among younger and older adults

Title variants
Languages of publication
The paper reported two correlational studies. The aim of the Study 1 was to examine the hypothesis that age moderates the relationship between need for closure (NFC) and cognitive structuring. Results of the study revealed that aging with increased need for closure was associated with better recognition of irrelevant information than schema-relevant items, in testing hypotheses about the target person. These findings are interpreted as demonstrating the age-associated failure of cognitive abilities (i.e., low efficacy at fulfilling the need for closure), reducing tendency to behave according to the level of epistemic motivation. The results of Study 2 demonstrated that older participants are characterized by higher NFC but by lower EFNC than young participants. These results are consistent with the conclusion that the negative relationships between NFC and cognitive structuring demonstrated by the older participants in Study 1 can be attributed to their lower level of EFNC.
Physical description
  • Institute of Psychology, Jagiellonian University, Mickiewicza 3, 31-120 Krakow, Poland
  • Alba, J. W., & Hasher, L. (1983). Is memory schematic?Psychological Bulletin, 93, 203-231.
  • Baldwin, M. W. (1992). Relational schemas in the processing of social information.Psychological Bulletin, 112, 461-484.
  • Bar-Tal, Y., & Guinote, A. (2002). Who exhibits more stereotypical thinking? The effect of need and ability to achieve cognitive structure on stereotyping.European Journal of Personality, 16, 313-331.
  • Bar-Tal, Y., Kishon-Rabin, L., & Tabak, N. (1997). The effect of need and ability to achieve cognitive structuring on cognitive structuring.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 1158-1176.
  • Bar-Tal, Y., & Kossowska, M. (2010). The efficacy at fulfilling need for closure: The concept and its measurement. In John P. Villanueva (Ed.)Personality Traits: Classification, Effects and Changes.(pp. 47-64). New York: Nova Publishers.
  • Bar-Tal, Y., & Kossowska, M. (submitted). A positive mood enhances efficacy at meeting epistemic needs.
  • Blazer, D. G. (2002). Self-efficacy and depression in late life: a primary prevention proposal.Aging & Mental health, 6, 315-24.
  • Bohner, G., Moskowitz, G., & Chaiken, S. (1995). The interplay of heuristic and systematic processing of social information.European Review of Social Psychology, 6, 33-68.
  • Brewer, M.B. (1988). A dual process model of impression formation. In T. K. Srull & R. S. Wyer (Eds.),Advances in social cognition.(Vol. 1, pp. 1-36). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Castel, A., & Craik, F. (2003). The effects of aging and divided attention on memory for item and associative information.Psychology and aging, 18, 873-85.
  • Chen, Y. (2004). Age differences in correction of context-induced biases: Source monitoring and timing of accountability.Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 11, 58-67.
  • Chen, Y., & Blanchard-Fields, F. (2000). Unwanted thought: Age differences in the correction of social judgments.Psychology and Aging, 15, 475-482.
  • Clark, L. F. (1993). Stress and the cognitive-conversational benefits of social interaction.Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 12, 25-55.
  • Cornelis, I., Van Hiel, A., Roets, A., & Kossowska, M. (2009). Age differences in conservatism: evidence on the mediating effects of personality and cognitive style.Journal of personality, 77, 51-87.
  • Daneman, M., Carpenter, P. A. (1980). Individual differences in working memory and reading.Journal of Verbal Learning & Verbal Behavior, 19, 450-466.
  • Dąbrowska, K. (2009). Błąd przekonań a rozumowanie sylogistyczne osób starszych [Error beliefs and syllogistic reasoning among older adults]. Unpublished master thesis, Warsaw: SWPS.
  • Dijksterhuis, A., van Knippenberg, A., Kruglanski, A. W., & Schaper, C. (1996). Motivated social cognition: Need for closure effects on memory and judgment.Journal of Experimental and Social Psychology, 32, 254-270.
  • Donaldson, W. (1992). Measuring recognition memory.Journal of Experimental Psychology General, 121, 275-277.
  • Driscoll, D.M., Hamilton, D.L., & Sorrentino, R.M. (1991). Uncertainty orientation and recall of person-descriptive information.Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 17, 494-500.
  • Dunlap, W.P., & Kemery, E.R. (1987). Failure to detect moderating effects: Is multicollinearity the problem?Psychological Bulletin, 102, 418-420.
  • Elovainio, M., & Kivimaki, M. (1999). Personal need for structure and occupational strain: An investigation of structural models and interaction with job complexity.Personality and Individual Differences, 26, 209-222.
  • Epstein, S., Meier, P. (1989). Constructive thinking: A broad coping variable with specific components.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 332-350.
  • Fiske, S.T. (1993a). Social cognition and social perception.Annual Review of Psychology, 44, 155-194.
  • Fiske, S.T. (1993b). Controlling other people: The impact of power on stereotyping.American Psychologist, 48, 621-628.
  • Fiske, S. T., & Pavelchak, M. A. (1986). Category-based versus piecemeal-based affective responses: Developments in schema-triggered affect. In: R. M. Sorrentino & E. T. Higgins (Eds.),Handbook of motivation and cognition: Foundations of social behavior(pp.167-203). New York, NY, US: Guilford Press.
  • Folstein, M. F., Folstein, S. E., & McHugh, P. R. (1975). "Mini-Mental State": A practical method for grading the cognitive state of patients for the clinician.Journal of Psychiatric Research, 12, 189-198.
  • Ford, T., & Kruglanski, A.W. (1995). Effects of Epistemic Motivations on the Use of Accessible Constructs in Social Judgment.Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 21, 950-962.
  • Hastie, R., Ostrom, T.M., Ebbesen, E.B., Wyer, R.S., Hamilton. D.L., & Carlston, D.E. (Eds.) (1980).Person memory: The cognitive basis of social perception.Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Heckhausen, J., & Baltes, P. B. (1991). Perceived controllability of expected psychological change across adulthood and old age.Journals of Gerontology, 46, P165-P173.
  • Hertzog, C., McGuire, C. L., & Lineweaver, T. T. (1998). Aging, attributions, perceived control and strategy use in a free recall task.Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 5, 85-106.
  • Hess, T. M. (2005). Memory and aging in context.Psychological Bulletin, 131, 383-406.
  • Hess, T. M. (2001). Ageing-related influences on personal need for structure.International Journal of Behavioral Development, 25, 482-490.
  • Hess, T. M., & Slaughter, S. J. (1990). Schematic knowledge influences on memory for scene information in young and older adults.Developmental Psychology, 26, 855-865.
  • Hess, T.M., & Tate, C.S. (1991). Adult age differences in explanations and memory for behavioral information.Psychology and Aging, 6, 86-92.
  • Hess, T. M., Donley, J., & Vandermaas, M. O. (1989). Aging-related changes in the processing and retention of script information.Experimental Aging Research, 15, 89-96.
  • Hofmann, W., Gschwendner, T., Friese, M., Wiers, R. W., & Schmitt, M. (2008). Working memory capacity and self-regulatory behavior: toward an individual differences perspective on behavior determination by automatic versus controlled processes.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 962-77.
  • Isbell, L. (2004). Not all happy people are lazy or stupid: Evidence of systematic processing in happy moods.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 40, 341-350.
  • Jamieson, D. W., & Zanna, M. P. (1989). Need for structure in attitude formation and expression. In: Anthony R. Pratkanis, Steven J. Breckeler & Anhony G. Greenwald (Eds.),Attitude structure and function(pp. 383-406). Hillsdale, NJ, England: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Janis, I.L., & Mann, L. (1977).Decision making: A psychological analysis of conflict, choice, and commitment.New Trbrk: Free Press.
  • Keinan, G., Friedland, N., & Arad, L. (1991). Chunking and integration: Effects of stress on the structuring of information.Cognition and Emotion 5, 133-145.
  • Klaczynski, P. A., & Robinson, B. (2000). Personal Theories, Intellectual Ability, and Epistemological Beliefs : Adult Age Differences in Everyday Reasoning Biases.Psychology and Aging, 15, 400-416.
  • Kossowska, M. (2003). Różnice indywidualne w motywacji poznawczej [Individual differences in cognitive motivation].Przegląd Psychologiczny, 46, 355 - 375.
  • Kossowska, M. (2007). The role of cognitive inhibition in motivation toward closure.Personality and Individual Differences, 42, 1117-1126.
  • Kossowska, M. & Bar-Tal, Y. (submitted). A positive mood enhances efficacy at meeting epistemic needs.
  • Kossowska, M. & Jaśko, K. (in press). Need and ability in knowledge formation process. W: Cervone, D., Eysenck, M.W., Fajkowska, M., & Maruszewski, T. (Eds.)Personality dynamics: Embodiment, meaning construction, and the social world. Warsaw Lectures on Personality and Social Psychology. Vol.3.Clinton Corners, NY: Eliot Werner Publications.
  • Kossowska, M., Orehek, E., Kruglanski, A.W. (2010). Motivation Towards Closure And Cognitive Resources: An Individual Differences Approach. In: A. Gruszka, G. Mathews i B. Szymura (eds.),Handbook of Individual Differences in Cognition: Attention, Memory and Executive Control(pp. 369-382). New York, NY, US: Springer Science + Business Media.
  • Kruglanski, A.W. (1989).Lay epistemics and human knowledge: Cognitive and motivational bases.New York: Plenum.
  • Kruglanski, A. W., & Ajzen, I. (1983). Bias and error in human judgment.European Journal of Social Psychology, 13, 1-44.
  • Kruglanski, A.W., & Freund, T. (1983). The freezing and unfreezing of lay-inferences: Effects of impressional primacy, ethnic stereotyping, and numerical anchoring.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 19, 448-468.
  • Kruglanski, A.W., Dechesne, M., Orehek, E., & Pierro, A. (2009). Three decades of lay epistemics: The why, how, and who of knowledge formation.European Review of Social Psychology, 20, 146-191.
  • Kruglanski, A.W., & Webster, D. (1996). Motivated closing of the mind: ‘Seizing’ and ‘freezing.’Psychological Review, 103, 263-283.
  • Krumm, A.J., & Corning, A.F. (2008). Perceived control as a moderator of the prototype effect in the perception of discrimination.Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 38, 1109-1126.
  • Lachman, M. E. (1986). Locus of control in aging research: A case for multidimensional and domain-specific assessment.Psychology and Aging, 1, 34-40.
  • Lachman, M. E., Bandura, M., Weaver, S. L., & Elliott, E. (1995). Assessing control beliefs: The Memory Controllability Inventory.Aging and Cognition, 2, 67-84.
  • Lachman, M. E., & McArthur, L. Z. (1986). Adult age differences in causal attributions for cognitive, physical, and social performance.Psychology and Aging, 1, 127-132.
  • Lorenzi-Cioldi, F., Eagly, A.H., & Stewart, T. (1995). Homogeneity of gender groups in memory.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 31, 193-217.
  • Mayseless, O., Kruglanski, A. W. (1987). What Makes You So Sure? Effects of Epistemic Motivations on Judgmental Confidence.Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes, 39, 162-183.
  • Mccormick, K. M. (2002). A Concept Analysis of Uncertainty in Illness.Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 127-131.
  • Moskowitz, G.B. (1993). Individual Differences in Social Categorization: The Influence of Personal Need for Structure on Spontaneous Trait Inferences.Journal of Personally and Social Psychology, 65, 132-142
  • Murray, S.L., & Holmes, J.G. (1999). The (mental) ties that bind: cognitive structures that predict relationship resilience.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 1228-1244.
  • Naveh-Benjamin, M. (2000). Adult age differences in memory performance: Tests of an associative deficit hypothesis.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 26, 1170-1187.
  • Neuberg, S.L., & Newsom, J.T. (1993). Personal need for structure: Individual differences in the desire for simple structure.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 113-131.
  • Otten, S., & Bar-Tal, Y. (2002). Self-anchoring in the minimal group paradigm: The impact of need and ability to achieve cognitive structure.Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 5, 265-282.
  • Pelham, B.W., & Neter, E. (1995). The effect of motivation on judgment depends on the difficulty of the judgment.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 581-594.
  • Radvansky, G. a, Copeland, D. E., & Hippel, W. von. (2010). Stereotype Activation, Inhibition, and Aging.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46, 51-60.
  • Roets, A., & Van Hiel, A. (2007). Separating ability from need: Clarifying the dimensional structure of the need for closure scale.Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33, 266-280.
  • Schaller, M., Boyd, C., Yohannes, J., & O'Brien, M. (1995). The prejudiced personality revisited: Personal need for structure and formation of erroneous group stereotypes.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 544-555.
  • Verhaeghen, P. & Salthouse, T. (1997). Meta-analyses of age-cognition relations in adulthood: Estimates of linear and nonlinear age effects and structural models.Psychological Bulletin, 122, 231-249.
  • Webster, D.M., & Kruglanski, A.W. (1994). Individual differences in need for cognitive closure.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 1049-1062.
  • Webster, D. M., Richter, L., & Kruglanski, A.W. (1996). On leaping to conclusions when feeling tired: Mental fatigue effects on impression formation.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 32, 181-195.
  • Welch, D. C., & West, R. L. (1995). Self-efficacy and mastery: Its application to issues of environmental control, cognition, and aging.Developmental Review, 15, 150-171.
  • Wheaton, B. (1983). Stress, Personal Coping Resources, and Psychiatric Symptoms: An Investigation of Interactive Models.Journal of Health & Social Behavior, 24, 208-229.
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.