The Role of Need for Cognition in Well-Being – Review and Meta-Analyses of Associations and Potentially Underlying Mechanisms

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelBeigetragenBegutachtung


Need for Cognition (NFC) describes one’s inclination towards and enjoyment of effortful cognitive activities and has been associated with favourable academic outcomes. Yet, recent evidence also points to beneficial outcomes regarding well-being. This review gives an overview of the literature on the role of NFC in well-being in healthy adults by combining random-effects meta-analyses and a qualitative integration of evidence. Studies investigating NFC and facets of well-being were acquired via database searches and a call for unpublished results. Higher NFC was found to be associated with lower neuroticism, anxiety, negative affect, burnout, public self-consciousness, and depression and with higher positive affect, private self-consciousness, and satisfaction (|ρ| ~ .20 with 95% confidence intervals excluding zero for all examined outcomes). While tests for publication and selection bias in the meta-analyses were negative, heterogeneity was often observed. NFC was further associated with aspects of a more stable identity and higher social confidence, while associations with addictive behaviours and physical health were inconsistent. One mechanism driving these patterns seems to be a higher perceived control in individuals with higher NFC that increases active coping, but also reduces the effectiveness of health interventions by fostering a sense of overconfidence in own resources. Thus, this review provides a leverage point for future research on NFC and well-being to improve prevention and intervention.


Seiten (von - bis)20-38
FachzeitschriftCollabra: Psychology
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 8 Feb. 2024

Externe IDs

ORCID /0000-0003-2892-884X/work/154740859
ORCID /0000-0002-9426-5397/work/154741361
Mendeley 19aaba80-b2fc-3716-83f1-c2e8988afb59
Scopus 85187287269