Predicting interest in and attitudes toward science from personality and need for cognition
Gregory J. Feist
One important task for psychologists of science is to examine the psychological factors (such as person- ality or cognition) that underlie who becomes interested in science and what kind of attitudes people develop toward science. Those were the primary questions addressed by the present study in a sample of 655 college undergraduates. We predicted that the personality dimensions of openness to experience, conscientiousness, and introversion as well as the cognitive style need for cognition would each predict level of interest in science. Results confirmed these predictions, although the effect sizes tended to be small. Further analyses revealed that need for cognition explained variance in interest in science over and above variance explained by personality.