Need for Cognition, Ambiguity Tolerance and Likelihood of Prejudice




Carballo, Angelica Dee

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The purpose of this study is to investigate whether there is a relationship between Need for Cognition, Ambiguity Tolerance and prejudice. Research has supported the idea that people categorize groups based on essentialized characteristics such as sex and race and that this tendency is likely mediated (e.g., strengthened or weakened) by certain cognitive processing tendencies. This is important because categorization can sometimes lead to prejudiced behaviors. The proposed research will investigate the links between Need for Cognition, Ambiguity Tolerance and prejudice. A total of 297 students answered three surveys: The Multiple Stimulus Types Ambiguity Test-I, the Need for Cognition scale and the Quick Discrimination Index. The Quick Discrimination Index consists of three subscales, two specific to race. Results suggest that those scoring higher on the Need for Cognition Scale scored lower on the Quick Discrimination Index which measures affective and cognitive racial beliefs as well as sexist convictions. In conclusion, finding a way to boost the desire to learn may be a way to lessen prejudice and with further study, the Need for Cognition scale may be a useful tool for evaluating individuals applying for jobs in certain occupations such as counseling and police work.



Ambiguity tolerance, Need for cognition, Prejudice, Bias, Racism, Essentialism, Social identity theory, Optimal distinctiveness, Dual identities


Carballo, A. D. (2016). <i>Need for cognition, ambiguity tolerance and likelihood of prejudice</i> (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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