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ACADEMIC RESEARCH PAPERS

Uncertainty, the Need for Closure and Conservatism

The desire for certainty and closure drive all our decisions. Actions from crossing a street, buying a home, getting married, or joining the army require some amount of certainty.  Individuals differ in the extent to which they crave certainty and closure. Some feel discomfort with uncertainty in any domain. They tend to quickly make decisions, look for resolution, form an opinion, or peek to see the end of a story. Others embrace uncertainty, enjoy the open ended possibilities that it offers, and do not make up their mind or come to closure too quickly.  Our lab developed a “Need for Closure” scale that was translated to fifteen languages. The scale measures a person’s individual tendency toward certainty and cognitive closure. It also measures whether those tendencies can change under certain conditions.  This line of research has important implications for examining under what conditions people can change their opinions, stereotypes or prejudices. Under what conditions people can become more or less closed minded or conservative. 

 

We live at a time of great uncertainty and rapid change, economic downturn, waves of immigration, and the refugee crisis. It feeds a craving for stability and certainty,  which in turn often translates into embracing the politics of conservatism and populism. 

 

Papers in this section address the motivation for certainty and closure, its antecedents and its consequences for people’s decision making, perception of others, interpersonal relations, group and intergroup processes as well as their politics and world views. 

Peer-Reviewed Papers

Pica, G., Milyavsky, M., Pierro, A. & Kruglanski, A.W. (in press) The Epistemic Bases of Changes of Opinion and Choices: The Joint Effects of the Need for Cognitive Closure, Ascribed Epistemic Authority and Quality of Advice. European Journal of Social Psychology.

Kruglanski, A.W., Jasko, K. & Friston, K. (2020). All thinking is wishful thinking. Trends in Cognitive Science, 24(6), 413-424. PDF

Baldner, C., Jaume, L. C., Pierro, A., & Kruglanski, A. W. (2019). the epistemic bases of prejudice: the role of need for cognitive closure. TPM: Testing, Psychometrics, Methodology in Applied Psychology, 26(3), 447-461. PDF

Dugas, M., & Kruglanski, A. W. (2018). Shared Reality as Collective Closure. Current opinion in Psychology, 23, 72-76. PDF

Kossowska, M., Szumowska, E., Dragon, P., Jaśko, K., & Kruglanski, A. W. (2018). Disparate roads to certainty processing strategy choices under need for closure. European Review of Social Psychology, 29(1), 161-211. PDF

Webber, D., Babush, M., Schori-Eyal, N., Vazeou-Nieuwenhuis, A., Hettiarachchi, M., Bélanger, J. J., ... & Gelfand, M. J. (2018). The road to extremism: Field and experimental evidence that significance loss-induced need for closure fosters radicalization. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 114(2), 270-285. PDF

Dugas, M. A., Schori-Eyal, N., Kruglanski, A.W., Klar, Y., Touchton-Leonard, K., McNeil, A., Gelfand, M.J., Roccas, S. (2017). Group-centric attitudes mediate the relationship between Need for Closure and Intergroup hostility. Group Processes and Interpersonal Relations, 21(8), 1155-1171. PDF

Kossowska, M., Bukowski, M., Guinote, A., Dragon, P., & Kruglanski, A. W. (2016). Self-image threat decreases stereotyping: The role of motivation toward closure. Motivation and Emotion, 40(6), 830-841. PDF

Brizi, A., Mannetti, L., & Kruglanski, A. W. (2016). The closing of open minds: Need for closure moderates the impact of uncertainty salience on outgroup discrimination. British Journal of Social Psychology, 55(2), 244-262. PDF

Bélanger, J. J., Pierro, A., Barbieri, B., De Carlo, N. A., Falco, A., & Kruglanski, A. W.  (2016). One size doesn’t fit all: the influence of supervisors’ power tactics and subordinates’ need for cognitive closure on burnout and stress. European Journal of Work  and Organizational Psychology, 25(2), 287-300. PDF

Pica, G., Bélanger, J. J., Pantaleo, G., Pierro, A., & Kruglanski, A. W. (2016). Prejudice in person memory: Self-threat biases memories of stigmatized group members. European Journal of Social Psychology, 46(1), 124-131. PDF

Bélanger, J. J., Pierro, A., & Kruglanski, A. W. (2015). Social power tactics and subordinates’ compliance at work: The role of need for cognitive closure. Revue Européenne de Psychologie Appliquée/European Review of Applied Psychology, 65(4), 163-169. PDF

Roets, A., Kruglanski, A. W., Kossowska, M., Pierro, A., & Hong, Y. Y. (2015). Chapter Four-The Motivated Gatekeeper of Our Minds: New Directions in Need for Closure Theory and Research. Advances in experimental social psychology, 52, 221-283. PDF

Viola, V., Tosoni, A., Brizi, A., Salvato, I., Kruglanski, A. W., Galati, G., & Mannetti, L. (2015). Need for cognitive closure modulates how perceptual decisions are affected by task difficulty and outcome relevance. PloS one, 10(12), e0146002. PDF

Pierro, A., Sheveland, A., Livi, S., & Kruglanski, A. W. (2015). Person-group fit on the need for cognitive closure as a predictor of job performance, and the mediating role of group identification. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 19(2), 77. PDF

Livi, S., Kruglanski, A. W., Pierro, A., Mannetti, L., & Kenny, D. A. (2015). Epistemic motivation and perpetuation of group culture: Effects of need for cognitive closure on trans-generational norm transmission. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision  Processes, 129, 105-112. PDF

Viola, V., Tosoni, A., Kruglanski, A. W., Galati, G., & Mannetti, L. (2014). Routes of motivation: Stable psychological dispositions are associated with dynamic changes in cortico-cortical functional connectivity. PloS one, 9(6), e98010. PDF

Pica, G., Pierro, A., Bélanger, J. J., & Kruglanski, A. W. (2014). The role of need for cognitive closure in retrieval-induced forgetting and misinformation effects in eyewitness memory. Social Cognition, 32(4), 337-359. PDF

Kruglanski, A. W., Raglan, G. B., Schulkin, J., Babush, M., & Farrow, V. A. (2014). Need to know: the need for cognitive closure impacts the clinical practice of obstetrician/gynecologists. BMC medical informatics and decision making, 14(1), 122. PDF

Pierro, A., Giacomantonio, M., Kruglanski, A. W., & van Knippenberg, D. (2014). Follower need for cognitive closure as moderator of the effectiveness of leader procedural fairness. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 23(4), 582-595. PDF

Pica, G., Pierro, A. & Kruglanski, A.W. (2013). Effect of Circadian Rhythms on Retrieval Induced Forgetting. Cognitive Processes. PDF

Roets, A., Van Hiel, A. & Kruglanski, A.W. (2013). When motivation backfires: Optimal levels of motivation as a function of cognitive capacity in information relevance perception and social judgment. Motivation and Emotion, 37, 261-273. PDF

Pierro, A., Kruglanski, A.W. & Raven, B.H. (2012). Motivational underpinnings of social influence in work settings: Bases of social power and the need for cognitive closure. European Journal of Social Psychology, 42, 41-52. PDF

Pierro, A, Mannetti, L., Kruglanski, A.W., Klein, K. Orehek, E. (2012). Persistence of attitude change, and attitude-behavior correspondence based on extensive processing of source information. European Journal of Social Psychology, 42, 103-111. PDF

Kruglanski, A.W., Orehek, E. Deschesne, M., & Pierro,A. (2010) Lay epistemic theory: The motivational, cognitive, and social aspects of knowledge formation. Social and Personal Psychology Compass, 4, 939-950. PDF

Mannetti, L., Giacomantonio, M. Higgins, E.T., Pierro, A & Kruglanski, A.W. (2010). Tailoring visual images to Fit: Value Creation in Persuasive Messages. European Journal of Social Psychology, 40, 206-215. PDF

Mannetti, L., Levine, J.M., Pierro, A., & Kruglanski, A.W., (2010) Group reaction to defection: The impact of shared reality. Social Cognition, 28, 447-464. PDF

Orehek, E., Dechesne, M., Fishbach, A., Kruglanski, A.W., Chun, W.Y. (2010). On the inferential epistemics of trait centrality in impression formation. European Journal of Social Psychology, 40, 1120-1135. PDF

Orehek, E., Fishman, S., Dechesne, M., Doosje, B., Kruglanski, A.W., Cole, A.P. Saddler, B., & Jackson, T. (2010). Need for closure and the social response to terrorism. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 32, 279-290. PDF

Kruglanski, A.W., Dechesne, M., Orehek, E., & Pierro, A. (2009). Three decades of lay epistemics: The why, how, and who of knowledge formulation. European Review of Social Psychology, 20, 146-191. PDF

Kruglanski, A.W., Orehek, E., & Dechesne, M. (2009). Lay epistemic theory: The motivational, cognitive, and social aspects of knowledge formation. European Review of Social Psychology, 20, 146-191. PDF

Kruglanski, A, W., Pierro, A., & Spina, I. (2008). Night and day you are the one: On circadian mismatches and the transference effect in social perception. Psychological Science, 19, 296-301. PDF

Pierro, A., & Kruglanski, A.W. (2008). ‘Seizing and freezing; on a significant-person schema: Need for closure and the transference effect in social judgment. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34, 1492-1503. PDF

Kruglanski, A.W. & Orehek, E. (2007). Partitioning the domain of human inference: Dual mode and system models and their alternatives. Annual Review of Psychology, 8, 291-316. PDF

Livi, S., DeGrada, E., Pierro, A., Mannetti, L., Kruglanski, A.W. & Kenny, D. (2007). Bisogno di chiusura cognitiva e trasmissione di norme sperimentalmente indotte in piccoli gruppi (Need for cognitive closure and transmission of experimentally induced norms in small groups). Giornale Italiano di Psicologia (Italian Journal of Psychology),  34, 581-601.

Mannetti, L., Pierro, A., & Kruglanski, A.W. (2007). Who regrets more after choosing a non-status-quo option? Post decisional regret under need for cognitive closure. Journal of Economic Psychology, 28, 186-196. PDF

Pierro, A., Cicero, L., Bonaiuto, M., Van Knippenberg, D. & Kruglanski, A.W. (2007). Leader group prototypicality and resistance to organizational change: The moderating role of need for closure and team identification. Testing, Psychometrics, Methodology, 14,  27-40. PDF

Kruglanski, A.W., Pierro, A., Mannetti, L. & DeGrada, E. (2006). Groups as epistemic providers: Need for closure and the unfolding of group centrism. Psychological Review,  113, 84-100. PDF

Chirumbolo, A., Pierro, A., Mannetti, L., Areni, A. & Kruglanski, A.W. (2005). Motivated closed mindedness and creativity in small groups. Small Groups Research, 36, 59-82. PDF

Pierro, A., Cicero, L., Bonaiuto, M., Van Knippenberg, D. & Kruglanski, A.W. (2005).  Leader group prototypicality and leadership effectiveness: The moderating roles of need  for cognitive closure.. The Leadership Quarterly, 16, 503-516. PDF

Chirumbolo, A., Livi, S., Mannetti, L., Pierro, A. & Kruglanski, A.W. (2004). Effects of need for closure on creativity in small group interactions. European Journal of Personality, 18, 265-278. PDF

Kosic, A., Kruglanski, A.W., Pierro, A. & Mannetti, L. (2004). Social cognition of Immigrants Acculturation: Effects of the Need for Closure and the Reference Group at Entry. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86, 796-813. PDF

Pierro, A., Mannetti, L., Kruglanski, A.W. & Sleeth-Keppler, D. (2004). Relevance Override: On the reduced impact of “cues” under high motivation conditions of persuasion studies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86, 251-264. PDF

Pierro, A., DeGrada, E., Mannetti, L., Livi, S. & Kruglanski, A.W. (2004). Bisogno di chiusura cognitiva e risposta a violazioni normative di carattere quotidiano. (Need for closure and response to normative violations of everyday nature). Giornale Italiano di Psicologia, 31, 129-140. PDF

Bar-Joseph, U., & Kruglanski, A.W. (2003). Intelligence Failure and Need for Cognitive Closure: On the Psychology of the Yom Kippur Surprise. Political Psychology, 24, 75-99. PDF

Jost, J.T., Glaser, J., Kruglanski, A.W. & Sullaway, F.J. (2003). Exceptions that prove the rule: Using a theory of motivated social cognition to account for ideological incongruities and political anomalies, Psychological Bulletin, 129,. 383-393. PDF

Jost, J.T., Glaser, J., Kruglanski, A.W. & Sullaway, F.J. (2003). Political conservatism as motivated social cognition. Psychological Bulletin, 129, 339-375. PDF

Pierro, A., Mannetti, L., DeGrada, El, Livi, S., & Kruglanski, A.W. (2003). Autocracy bias in informal groups under need for closure. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 405-417. PDF

Jost, J.T. & Kruglanski, A.W., (2002). The estrangement of social constructionism and experimental social psychology: A history of the rift and prospects for reconciliation. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 6, 168-187. PDF

Kruglanski, A.W., Shah, J.Y., Pierro, A. & Manetti, L. (2002). When similarity breeds contempt: Need for closure and the allure of homogeneous and self-resembling groups. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83, 642-662. PDF

Mannetti, L., Pierro, A., Kruglanski, A.W., Taris, T., & Bezinovic, P. (2002). A cross cultural study of the need for cognitive closure scale: comparing its structure in Croatia, Italy, the USA and the Netherlands. British Journal of Social Psychology, 41, 139-156. PDF

Kruglanski, A.W. (2000). Clausura mental motivada: cerrando las puertas de nuestra alma. Revista de Psicologia Social, 15, 243-260. PDF

De Grada, E., Kruglanski, A.W., Mannetti, L., & Piero, A. (1999). Motivated Cognition and Group Interaction: Need for Closure Affects the Contents and Processes of Collective Negotiations. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 35, 346-365. PDF

Richter, L. & Kruglanski, A.W. (1999). Motivated search for common ground: Need for closure effects on audience design in interpersonal communication. Personality and  Social Psychology Bulletin, 25, 1101-1114. PDF

Richter, L. & Kruglanski, A.W. (1998). Seizing on the latest: Motivationally driven recency effects in impression formation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 13, 279-301. PDF

Shah, J. Y., Kruglanski, A.W., & Thompson, E.P. (1998). Membership has its (epistemic) rewards: Need for closure effects on ingroup bias. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 383-393. PDF

Webster, D. M. and Kruglanski, A. W. (1998). Cognitive and social consequences of the motivation for closure. The European Review of Social Psychology. 8, 133-183. PDF

Kruglanski, A.W., Atash, M.N., DeGrada, E., Mannetti, L. & Pierro, A. (1997). Psychological theory testing versus psychometric nay saying: Need for closure scale and the Neuberg et al. critique. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 10051016. PDF

Rubini, M. & Kruglanski, A.W. (1997). Brief encounters ending in estrangement: Motivated languageuse and interpersonaI rapport. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 12, 1047-1060. PDF

Webster, D.M., Kruglanski, A.W. & Pattison, D.A. (1997). Motivated language use in intergroup contexts: Need for closure effects on the linguistic intergroup bias. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72, 1122-1131. PDF

De Grada, E., Kruglanski, A.W., Mannetti, L., Pierro, A., & Webster, D.M. (1996). Un'analisi strutturale comparativa delle version, USA e italiana della scala di "Bisogno di chiusura cognitiva" di Webster & Kruglanski. Testing, Psicometria, Metodologia, 3, 518.

Dijksterhuis, A.P.; Van Knippenberg, A.D.; Kruglanski, A.W.; & Schaper, C. (1996). Motivated social cognition: Need for closure effects on memory and judgment. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 32, 254-270. PDF

Kruglanski, A.W., Freund, T. & Bar-Tal, D. (1996). Motivational effects in the mere exposure paradigm. European Journal of Social Psychology, 26, 479-499. PDF

Kruglanski, A.W. & Webster, D.M. (1996). Motivated closing of the mind: "Seizing" and "freezing". Psychological Review, 103, 263-283. PDF

Webster, D.M., Richter, L. & Kruglanski, A.W. (1996). On leaping to conclusions when feeling tired: Mental fatigue effects on impressional primacy. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 32, 181195. PDF

Ford, T.E. & Kruglanski, A.W. (1995). Effects of epistemic motivations on the use of accessible contructs in social judgments. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 21, 950-962. PDF

Webster, D.W. & Kruglanski, A.W. (1994). Individual Differences in need for cognitive closure. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 67, 1049-1062. PDF

Kruglanski, A.W., Webster, D.M., & Klein, A. (1993). Motivated resistance and openness to persuasion in the presence or absence of prior information. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 861-876. PDF

Heaton, A.W. & Kruglanski, A.W. (1991). Person perception by introverts and extroverts under time pressure: Need for closure effects. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 17, 161-165. PDF

Kruglanski, A.W. & Webster, D.M. (1991). Group members' reactions to opinion deviates and conformists at varying degrees of proximity to decision deadline and of environmental noise. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61, 212-225. PDF

Kruglanski, A.W., Peri, N., & Zakai, D. (1991). Interactive effects of need for closure and initial confidence on social information seeking. Social Cognition, 9, 127-148. PDF

Kruglanski, A.W. (1990). Lay epistemic theory in social cognitive psychology. (target article for peer commentary) Psychological Inquiry, 1, 181-197. PDF

Kruglanski, A., & Mackie, D. (1990). Majority and minority influence: A judgmental process analysis. In W. Stroebe & M. Hewstone (Eds.), European Review of Social Psychology, 1, 229-261. PDF

Kruglanski, A.W. & Meinholdt, C. (1990). Cognitive and motivational bases of judgmental biases: Toward a synthesis. Polish Psychological Bulletin, 21, 291-305. PDF

Kruglanski, A.W. & Meinholdt, C. (1990). Cognitive biases, self deceptions, and defense mechanisms: Bridging the gulf. Polish Psychological Bulletin, 21, 269-277.

BarTal, D., Kruglanski, A.W. & Klar, Y. (1989). Conflict termination: An epistemological analysis of international cases. Political Psychology, 10, 233-255. PDF

Kruglanski, A. W. & Mayseless, 0. (1988). Contextual effects in hypothesis testing: The role of competing hypotheses and epistemic motivations. Social Cognition, 6, 120.

Kruglanski, A. W. & Mayseless, O.(1987). Motivational effects in the social comparison of opinions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53, 834-842. PDF

Mayseless, O., & Kruglanski, A. W. (1987). What makes you so sure? Effects of epistemic motivations on judgmental confidence. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 39, 162-183. PDF

Kruglanski, A. (1986). Freezethink and the Challenger disaster. Psychology Today, 20, August. 48-49.

Freund, T., Kruglanski, A., & Schpitzajzen, A. (1985). The freezing and unfreezing of impressional primacy: Effects of the need for structure and the fear of invalidity. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 11, 479-487. PDF

Kruglanski, A., & Ajzen, 1. (1983). Bias and error in human judgement. European Journal of Social Psychology, 13, 144. PDF

Kruglanski, A., & Freund, T. (1983). The freezing and unfreezing of lay inferences: Effects on impressional primacy, ethnic stereotyping and numerical anchoring. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 19, 448-468. PDF

Kruglanski, A. (1982). But can you be sure?: The psychology of sounder judgements revisited. Psychologie Heute.

Kruglanski, A. (1982). Kognitive Sozialpsychologie: Eine Betrachtung zum Kognitiven pluralismus and irrationalismus. Zeitschrift fur Sozialpsychologie, 13, 150162. PDF

Kruglanski, A. (1980). Lay epistemologic process and contents: Another look at attribution theory. Psychological Review, 87, 70-87. PDF

Kruglanski, A., Stein, C., & Riter, A. (1977). Contingencies of exogenous reward and task performance: On the minimax principle in instrumental behavior. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 7, 141-148. PDF