Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

William Pfohl, Sally Kuhlenschmidt, John Bruni

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The psychometric properties of the Need for Cognition Scale (NCS; Cacioppo & Petty, 1982) were investigated in two studies with independent samples of undergraduates at Western Kentucky University. In the first study (N = 379), the internal consistency and factor structure of the NCS were examined, and the NCS was compared to the Achievement subscale of the Personality Research Form (Jackson, 1974) and the State-Trait Curiosity subscale of the State-Trait Personality Inventory (Speilberger, 1979). Also, the possibility of differences in “need for cognition” attributable to socio-economic status (i.e. the educational attainment of the subjects’ parents) were examined. The second study (N = 72) compared the NCS to the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Revised (PPVT-R; Dunn & Dunn, 1981) and, in addition, investigated the possibility that the NCS could explain variance in American College Test (ACT) scores other than that explained by the PPVT-R alone. The findings indicated that the NCS is a reliable instrument in terms of internal consistency. In factor analyses, one primary and one lesser factor emerged. The first factor was interpreted as representing the enjoyment of thinking, which is consistent with the first factor described in previous factor analytic investigations (i.e. Cacioppo & Petty, 1982; Cacioppo, Petty, Kao, 1984). The weaker factor appeared to represent the “amount” of cognitive activity sought by the individual high in NCog. This factor corresponded to one described by Tanaka, Panter, and Winbourne (1988). The NCS correlated positively and moderately with the Achievement and Curiosity subscales. The analyses of SES differences in NCS scores indicate that there is a main effect for SES; the participants whose parents had fewer years of formal education had higher scores on the NCS. In the second study, the NCS correlated moderately and positively with the PPVT-R; however, the NCS did not account for variance in ACT scores which was significant and unique to that accounted for by PPVT-R scores.


Cognitive Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences