Applying Item Response Theory to develop a shortened version of the Need for Cognition scale

Francesca Chiesi, Kinga Morsanyi, Maria Anna Donati, Caterina Primi

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3 Citations (Scopus)
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The 18-item Need for Cognition Scale (NFC-18) is the most commonly used tool to measure need for cognition. The aim of this study was to explore the possibility of developing an abbreviated version of the scale, applying the item response theory (IRT). Item response theory analyses suggested the exclusion of eight items that did not perform well in measuring the latent trait. The resulting 10-item scale (NFC-10), which included highly discriminative items, covered the same range of the measured trait as the original scale and showed high measurement precision along various levels of the trait. Additionally, since IRT analyses can only confirm the accuracy of the short scale in measuring the underlying construct, we sought to replicate the nomological net of the NFC-18 using the shortened version of the scale. The results showed that the NFC-10 reflects an adequate operationalization of the construct, in line with the longer version. In particular, as expected, the NFC-10 showed moderate relations with various measures of cognitive skills and self-report measures of cognitive styles, confidence, and anxiety. These findings confirm that we have obtained a much shorter version of the NFC that maintains excellent reliability and validity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number86
Pages (from-to)75
Number of pages12
JournalAdvances in Cognitive Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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