The Need for Cognition Assessment: Do You Like to Solve Puzzles?

One of the skills that is an essential part of science-related occupations is solving problems in a logical way. Learning science is an exercise in applying your problem-solving skills to integrate new information and skills into your thinking. While there is a certain amount of memorizing in learning new science terms, it is the application of scientific principles that can be the most difficult part of the science learning environment. Scientific principles are based upon relationships or connections between different individual science concepts. Another way of saying this is that perhaps the greatest need to understand science is not just what makes up science but how the various scientific aspects interact.

We know that students tend to learn concepts when the information is presented in a manner that meets several "needs" that all humans experience. Effective learning activities keep the student's attention, are relevant to the student's goals, engender a sense of confidence that the student has the ability to understand the material presented, and finally allows the student have the satisfaction of a job well done when the activity is completed. Each person has a difference in the importance of each of these needs. Some need more confidence-building than others, while other students have a greater need for having an immediate sense of accomplishment at the end of the activity.

Research in science education has found that when students use electronic learning materials, whether they actually will carefully examine and participate in learning activities depends a great deal upon whether the student likes to solve complex problems. A student with low desire to engage in problem-solving will quickly become discouraged by activities that require solving problems and discovering the relationships between elements of the science content. This ultimately leads to lower attention throughout the activity and sense that the required task is relevant to long-term goals.

Cassiopo and Petty developed a quick assessment tool that determines what they called "Need for Cognition". This test allows the person to rate her/his thinking processes in different contexts. There are 18 statements to be rated as a reflection of the person's desires and thinking. After the person completes the test, he/she is assigned a score that indicates how motivated the person will be to complete problem-solving activities successfully, without additional incentives. This score can be used by the science instructor to help individualize instructional activites to maximize the student's performance and subsequent learning.

We encourage you to take the Need for Cognition assessment. When you click link, you will be asked to enter your name and identification. It you have been asked to do the NFC assessment as a part of a specific course, your instructor will tell you what to use as your identification. If you are just interested in taking the assessment for your own purposes, we ask that you use a valid email address. We DO NOT sell or distribute email addresses, but use them to gauge the use of our web app and help with troubleshooting it.

I'm ready to take the NFC test
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