Master's Theses

Date of Award

Summer 1989

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Thomas T. Jackson

Abstract

The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) have been used as predictors in post-baccalaureate study. Results of the test are a verbal, a quantitative and an analytic score. The verbal and quantitative scores have been used more extensively in research than the analytic score. Analytic scores have been found to be predictive of admission to graduate study and advancement to Ph.D. candidacy when used in combination with other predictor variables (Mowsesian & Hays, 1985). The analytic score has also found to be related to areas of study, with physical science majors obtaining higher mean analytic scores (GRE Interpretation Pamphlet, 1988). However, it would be advantageous to identify what constructs, beyond reasoning abilities, may be related to the analytic examinations. The establishment of a relationship with a singular, valid, and reliable construct would be beneficial. The construct of need for cognition was examined in this study. Need for cognition is defined as an individual’s “tendency to engage in and enjoy thinking.” p. 116 (Cacioppo & Petty, 1982). The research attempted to identify a relationship between the need for cognition and a measure of a subject’s analytic ability. Analytic ability was measured by using two 25-item tests consisting of questions similar to those found on the analytic section of the GRE. Need for cognition was measured using the 18-item Need for Cognition Scale (NCS) developed by Cacioppo, Petty, and Kao (1984). Descriptive and correlational analysis of the data were used to identify relationships and describe the obtained data. All descriptive correlations were Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients (r) and the level of significance was established at .05 for all computations. The predicted relationship between need for cognition and analytic scores was expected to be strongly and positively correlated, with subjects high in need for cognition obtaining higher analytic scores. The results did not support this predicted relationship. The research did support previous information that higher mean analytic scores occur in various disciplines. It was also hypothesized that if need for cognition is related to analytic scores then those disciplines with higher analytic score means should include subjects with high need for cognition. There were no significant correlations between need for cognition and any of the demographic or computed variables. Possible reasons for lack of support for the hypotheses and indications for future research were discussed.

Rights

Copyright 1989 Christine A. Collins-Thoman

Comments

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