The Need for Cognition and Its Potential Role Within Talent …

Wallace Research Symposium on Talent Development

Campus/Building Maps

The Need for Cognition and Its Potential Role Within Talent DevelopmentFranzis Preckel

Tuesday, May 21, 2024, 9:15 – 10:15 am, Lawrence D. McHugh Hall, Room 206

The construct of Need for Cognition (NFC) reflects individual differences in the tendency to seek, engage in, and enjoy effortful cognitive activities. Since its introduction in the 1980s by Cacioppo and Petty, NFC has been investigated in multiple fields ranging from medicine and law to social and cognitive psychology. During the last decade, NFC has gained increasing attention in educational psychology and giftedness research. NFC positively relates to cognitive variables and motivational constructs such as academic self-concepts, interests, and academic achievement. Students with high NFC are motivated to exert cognitive effort, they feel more drawn to cognitively challenging tasks than students with lower NFC, and they tend to adopt a deep approach to learning rather than a surface approach. NFC therefore explains interindividual differences in individuals’ willingness to invest cognitive effort and is discussed as the general factor of various traits related to intellectual investment. Of note, NFC is mainly unrelated to individual student characteristics such as gender, socio-economic status, or migration background: an aspect which underlines the importance of NFC in educational research and especially so with regard to diverse student populations. In my presentation, I will use investment theories to conceptually introduce NFC as one predictor of talent development and present current research findings on its role in academic learning and achievement. Finally, this presentation will discuss implications for future research on giftedness and talent development as well as means to support the development of students’ NFC.

Franzis Preckel Picture
Franzis Preckel is full Professor of Giftedness Research and Education in the Department of Psychology at Trier University in Germany. She earned her doctorate from the University of Münster and was Director of the Counselling Center for the Gifted and Talented at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Her research interests encompass psychological assessment, intelligence, giftedness, and talent development. Franzis has published her research in top ranked journals, including Psychological Bulletin or Perspectives on Psychological Science. She is author of the first German textbook about Giftedness and Talent, which in 2023 was also published in English together with Miriam Vock and Paula Olszewski-Kubilius. In 2017, Franzis received the path breaker award of the AERA special interest group on Research on Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent. In 2023, she received the International Award for Research of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children.