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Need for Cognitive Closure Modulates How Perceptual Decisions Are Affected by Task Difficulty and Outcome Relevance.

Viola V, Tosoni A, Brizi A, Salvato I, Kruglanski AW, Galati G, Mannetti L - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Task ambiguity was associated with increased cognitive effort in participants with low or medium NCC but, interestingly, it did not affect the RTs of participants with high NCC.A different pattern of association was observed for outcome relevance; high outcome relevance increased cognitive effort in participants with moderate or high NCC, but did not affect the performance of low NCC participants.These results suggest that perceptual decision making is influenced by the interaction between context and NCC.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Rome ''La Sapienza'', Rome, Italy.

ABSTRACT
The aim of this study was to assess the extent to which Need for Cognitive Closure (NCC), an individual-level epistemic motivation, can explain inter-individual variability in the cognitive effort invested on a perceptual decision making task (the random motion task). High levels of NCC are manifested in a preference for clarity, order and structure and a desire for firm and stable knowledge. The study evaluated how NCC moderates the impact of two variables known to increase the amount of cognitive effort invested on a task, namely task ambiguity (i.e., the difficulty of the perceptual discrimination) and outcome relevance (i.e., the monetary gain associated with a correct discrimination). Based on previous work and current design, we assumed that reaction times (RTs) on our motion discrimination task represent a valid index of effort investment. Task ambiguity was associated with increased cognitive effort in participants with low or medium NCC but, interestingly, it did not affect the RTs of participants with high NCC. A different pattern of association was observed for outcome relevance; high outcome relevance increased cognitive effort in participants with moderate or high NCC, but did not affect the performance of low NCC participants. In summary, the performance of individuals with low NCC was affected by task difficulty but not by outcome relevance, whereas individuals with high NCC were influenced by outcome relevance but not by task difficulty; only participants with medium NCC were affected by both task difficulty and outcome relevance. These results suggest that perceptual decision making is influenced by the interaction between context and NCC.

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Task ambiguity and outcome relevance.Schematic representation of the two independent variables manipulated during the decision task: outcome relevance and task ambiguity. Low outcome relevance trials (no points at stake) were indicated by green dots; high outcome relevance trials (30 points at stake) were indicated by red dots.
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pone.0146002.g002: Task ambiguity and outcome relevance.Schematic representation of the two independent variables manipulated during the decision task: outcome relevance and task ambiguity. Low outcome relevance trials (no points at stake) were indicated by green dots; high outcome relevance trials (30 points at stake) were indicated by red dots.

Mentions: In half the trials the dots in the RDM stimulus were depicted in green and in the other half they were depicted in red. Volunteers were told that the color indicated the reward available for correct performance. When the dot cloud was green there were no points at stake (low outcome relevance), whereas when the dot cloud was red they could win or lose 30 points depending on their performance (high outcome relevance). This resulted in a 2 by 2 factorial design, with task ambiguity and outcome relevance as the main within-subjects factors (Fig 2).


Need for Cognitive Closure Modulates How Perceptual Decisions Are Affected by Task Difficulty and Outcome Relevance.

Viola V, Tosoni A, Brizi A, Salvato I, Kruglanski AW, Galati G, Mannetti L - PLoS ONE (2015)

Task ambiguity and outcome relevance.Schematic representation of the two independent variables manipulated during the decision task: outcome relevance and task ambiguity. Low outcome relevance trials (no points at stake) were indicated by green dots; high outcome relevance trials (30 points at stake) were indicated by red dots.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4696795&req=5

pone.0146002.g002: Task ambiguity and outcome relevance.Schematic representation of the two independent variables manipulated during the decision task: outcome relevance and task ambiguity. Low outcome relevance trials (no points at stake) were indicated by green dots; high outcome relevance trials (30 points at stake) were indicated by red dots.
Mentions: In half the trials the dots in the RDM stimulus were depicted in green and in the other half they were depicted in red. Volunteers were told that the color indicated the reward available for correct performance. When the dot cloud was green there were no points at stake (low outcome relevance), whereas when the dot cloud was red they could win or lose 30 points depending on their performance (high outcome relevance). This resulted in a 2 by 2 factorial design, with task ambiguity and outcome relevance as the main within-subjects factors (Fig 2).

Bottom Line: Task ambiguity was associated with increased cognitive effort in participants with low or medium NCC but, interestingly, it did not affect the RTs of participants with high NCC.A different pattern of association was observed for outcome relevance; high outcome relevance increased cognitive effort in participants with moderate or high NCC, but did not affect the performance of low NCC participants.These results suggest that perceptual decision making is influenced by the interaction between context and NCC.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Rome ''La Sapienza'', Rome, Italy.

ABSTRACT
The aim of this study was to assess the extent to which Need for Cognitive Closure (NCC), an individual-level epistemic motivation, can explain inter-individual variability in the cognitive effort invested on a perceptual decision making task (the random motion task). High levels of NCC are manifested in a preference for clarity, order and structure and a desire for firm and stable knowledge. The study evaluated how NCC moderates the impact of two variables known to increase the amount of cognitive effort invested on a task, namely task ambiguity (i.e., the difficulty of the perceptual discrimination) and outcome relevance (i.e., the monetary gain associated with a correct discrimination). Based on previous work and current design, we assumed that reaction times (RTs) on our motion discrimination task represent a valid index of effort investment. Task ambiguity was associated with increased cognitive effort in participants with low or medium NCC but, interestingly, it did not affect the RTs of participants with high NCC. A different pattern of association was observed for outcome relevance; high outcome relevance increased cognitive effort in participants with moderate or high NCC, but did not affect the performance of low NCC participants. In summary, the performance of individuals with low NCC was affected by task difficulty but not by outcome relevance, whereas individuals with high NCC were influenced by outcome relevance but not by task difficulty; only participants with medium NCC were affected by both task difficulty and outcome relevance. These results suggest that perceptual decision making is influenced by the interaction between context and NCC.

Show MeSH