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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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Interaction between NCC and outcome relevance.The graph shows mean RTs as a function of NCC and outcome relevance (low; high). The asterisks highlight the significant increases in cognitive effort (RTs) which occurred in trials with high outcome relevance in medium and high NCC subjects but not low NCC subjects.
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pone.0146002.g003: Interaction between NCC and outcome relevance.The graph shows mean RTs as a function of NCC and outcome relevance (low; high). The asterisks highlight the significant increases in cognitive effort (RTs) which occurred in trials with high outcome relevance in medium and high NCC subjects but not low NCC subjects.

Mentions: The existence of a main effect of NCC confirmed the prediction that participants with low NCC would invest more cognitive effort in the perceptual task. Post-hoc comparisons of RTs in the three NCC groups indicated that mean RTs were higher in the low NCC group than the medium or high NCC groups (p < .05). The efficacy of the two experimental manipulations was confirmed by the effects of outcome relevance and task ambiguity on RTs. The three main effects were, however, qualified by two interactions, between NCC and outcome relevance (Fig 3) and between NCC and task ambiguity (Fig 4). Newmann-Keuls post-hoc analysis confirmed that high outcome relevance only increased RTs in medium and high NCC participants (low vs. high outcome relevance, medium NCC: p = .001; high NCC: p = 0.005; low NCC: p = .702). Task ambiguity showed the opposite pattern of association with post-hoc analyses confirming that high task ambiguity only increased RTs in low and medium NCC participants (low vs. high ambiguity, low NCC: p = .004; medium NCC: p = .001; high NCC: p = .400).


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)

Interaction between NCC and outcome relevance.The graph shows mean RTs as a function of NCC and outcome relevance (low; high). The asterisks highlight the significant increases in cognitive effort (RTs) which occurred in trials with high outcome relevance in medium and high NCC subjects but not low NCC subjects.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone.0146002.g003: Interaction between NCC and outcome relevance.The graph shows mean RTs as a function of NCC and outcome relevance (low; high). The asterisks highlight the significant increases in cognitive effort (RTs) which occurred in trials with high outcome relevance in medium and high NCC subjects but not low NCC subjects.
Mentions: The existence of a main effect of NCC confirmed the prediction that participants with low NCC would invest more cognitive effort in the perceptual task. Post-hoc comparisons of RTs in the three NCC groups indicated that mean RTs were higher in the low NCC group than the medium or high NCC groups (p < .05). The efficacy of the two experimental manipulations was confirmed by the effects of outcome relevance and task ambiguity on RTs. The three main effects were, however, qualified by two interactions, between NCC and outcome relevance (Fig 3) and between NCC and task ambiguity (Fig 4). Newmann-Keuls post-hoc analysis confirmed that high outcome relevance only increased RTs in medium and high NCC participants (low vs. high outcome relevance, medium NCC: p = .001; high NCC: p = 0.005; low NCC: p = .702). Task ambiguity showed the opposite pattern of association with post-hoc analyses confirming that high task ambiguity only increased RTs in low and medium NCC participants (low vs. high ambiguity, low NCC: p = .004; medium NCC: p = .001; high NCC: p = .400).

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