Efficacy at fulfilling the need for closure: The construct and its measurement

Yoram Bar-Tal*, Małgorzata Kossowska

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Since the introduction of the conceptualization and the scale of "The Need for Cognitive Closure" (NFC) by Kruglanski and Webster, it has generated a lot of research (for review see: Kruglanski, 1996; Webster & Kruglanski, 1994). According to Kruglanski, NFC predisposes individuals to freeze their epistemic process and thus to achieve greater certainty in their inferences. NFC has been found to foster the use of a large variety of cognitive and motivational biases. One of the basic assumptions behind the NFC is that epistemic freezing is the easier default option and that all people are capable of achieving cognitive closure if only the appropriate cognitive structure is available to them. Thus, NFC (and other similar concepts) has a relatively unique status in psychology as a source of motivation, in that it is assumed that cognitive closuring behavior can appear regardless of perceived or actual ability to carry it through. We however, maintain that the use of epistemic freezing depends not only on the person's needs but also upon his/her perceived ability to perform the freezing. In this chapter we introduce a new construct: the "Efficacy at Fulfilling the Need for Closure (EFNC). EFNC is defined as the extent to which individuals perceive themselves capable of using information processing methods which are consistent with their level of NFC. Thus, we maintain that EFNC moderates the effect of NFC on cognitive closure behavior. We also present three studies in which we describe the creation and validation of a scale to measure the new concept. Study 1 describes the scale's item generation and factor structure. Study 2 investigates the EFNC construct validity. Study 3 examines the EFNC scale's predictive validity. The results of the three studies demonstrate that the EFNC Scale measures a unitary construct, achieves good psychometric properties, correlates only with constructs representing ability to use a preferred epistemic process, and does not correlate with constructs representing epistemic motivation (NFC). Finally, the EFNC shows good predictive validity in that it moderates the effect of NFC on epistemic freezing.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPersonality Traits
Subtitle of host publicationClassifications, Effects and Changes
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9781616686192
StatePublished - 2010


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