What the need for closure scale measures and what it does not: Toward differentiating among related epistemic motives

Steven Neuberg, T. Nicole Judice, Stephen West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

160 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Need for Closure Scale (NFCS; D. M. Webster & A. W. Kruglanski, 1994) was introduced to assess the extent to which a person, faced with a decision or judgment, desires any answer, as compared with confusion and ambiguity. The NFCS was presented as being unidimensional and as having adequate discriminant validity. Our data contradict these conceptual and psychometric claims. As a unidimensional scale, the NFCS is redundant with the Personal Need for Structure Scale (PNS; M. M. Thompson, M. E. Naccarato, & K. E. Parker, 1989). When the NFCS is used more appropriately as a multidimensional instrument, 3 of its facets are redundant with the PNS Scale, and a 4th is redundant with the Personal Fear of Invalidity Scale (M. M. Thompson et al., 1989). It is suggested that the NFCS masks important distinctions between 2 independent epistemic motives: the preference for quick, decisive answers (nonspecific closure) and the need to create and maintain simple structures (one form of specific closure).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1396-1412
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume72
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1997

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Confusion
Masks
Psychometrics
Fear
invalidity
psychometrics
anxiety
human being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

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abstract = "The Need for Closure Scale (NFCS; D. M. Webster & A. W. Kruglanski, 1994) was introduced to assess the extent to which a person, faced with a decision or judgment, desires any answer, as compared with confusion and ambiguity. The NFCS was presented as being unidimensional and as having adequate discriminant validity. Our data contradict these conceptual and psychometric claims. As a unidimensional scale, the NFCS is redundant with the Personal Need for Structure Scale (PNS; M. M. Thompson, M. E. Naccarato, & K. E. Parker, 1989). When the NFCS is used more appropriately as a multidimensional instrument, 3 of its facets are redundant with the PNS Scale, and a 4th is redundant with the Personal Fear of Invalidity Scale (M. M. Thompson et al., 1989). It is suggested that the NFCS masks important distinctions between 2 independent epistemic motives: the preference for quick, decisive answers (nonspecific closure) and the need to create and maintain simple structures (one form of specific closure).",
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