Need for cognition refers to an individual’s preference for engaging in effortful cognitive activities. Given that it is an important factor about individual differences that may impact and correlate with academic achievement, Liu and Nesbit recently conducted a meta-analysis to investigate whether students with a higher need for cognition tend to demonstrate better academic performance than those with a lower need. They also assessed the moderating effects of 14 factors about research context, methodology, and instrumentation.
This meta-analysis included studies that 1) reported measurable learning outcomes in cognitive domains, 2) involved the participants from K-12 or post-secondary levels, 3) were published in English and publicly accessible, 4) were peer-reviewed publications, theses, and dissertations, and 5) reported sufficient quantitative data for calculating effect sizes.
After applying these inclusion criteria, this study identified 136 effect sizes with 53,258 participants from 122 eligible articles. The results showed a small positive association between the need for cognition and academic achievement (r = 0.20, 95% CI = 0.18-0.22), indicating that students with a high need for cognition achieved better academic performance than those with a low need. The overall effect was moderated by four significant moderators: grade level, geographic region, exposure to the intervention, and outcome measurement tool.
Source (Open Access): Liu, Q., & Nesbit, J. C. (2023). The relation between need for cognition and academic achievement: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 00346543231160474. https://doi.org/10.3102/00346543231160474