Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Flourish post #4 - NFC, NFA, WT***

Time for explanation about the stuff I presented at a conference a couple of weeks ago - and in the blog posts below.

If you answered the questions in the posts here and here, you'll know your scores on two tests: Need for Cognition and Need for Affect. These tests were developed by psychologists and are used fairly extensively, particularly among advertising psychologists.

I'm interested in these tests because they help us understand why we like what we like.

Need for Cognition measures the extent to which we seek out and enjoy cognitive stimulation. It is not a measure of intelligence. It's a measure of cognitive motivation. Very clever people can score low on NFC. High NFCers, though, do tend to acquire more knowledge over time.

Here are some characteristics of people with high NFC:

 - have high intrinsic motivation to engage in effortful cognitive endeavors
- use central path (information, reasoning, logic) to persuasion, rather than peripheral paths to persuasion (short cuts - do I like the way speaker looks, sounds...) 
- unstressed by cognitive tasks
- base judgements and beliefs on empirical information and rational considerations
- more likely to be curious
- more likely to desire new experiences that stimulate thinking
- perceive social issues to be personally relevant or involving
- desire to maximise information gain
- more likely to be open to ideas, actions, feelings and values.
- Tend to have high verbal intelligence but NFC is not related to abstract reasoning ability.
- tend to be low in neuroticism, low in external locus of control and low in social anxiety.
- much better long and short term  ad recall than low nfc
- uses attitude moderation - see shades of grey
- in team work situations, are much less likely to 'loaf'

Here are some characteristics of people with low NFC:

- much lower motivation to engage in effortful cognitive endeavours
- use peripheral paths to persuasion
- anxiety levels measurably increase if confronted with a task they perceive to be intellectually challenging
- use social comparison clues in decision/opinion making
value factors such as attractiveness and popularity in one’s identity,
- tendency to ignore, distort, avoid new information
- preference for order and predictability
- decisiveness 'this is just how it is.'
- tendency towards dogmatism
- find comfort in the familiar and predictable.

There is no gender difference with NFC.

Need for Affect, similarly, measures the extent to which people seek out and enjoy emotional stimulation. NFC has been highly researched and used extensively for the last 30 years. NFA is still in the development stage, but here's what's been established so far.

Need for Affect is a different thing to NFC. They are not opposites. You can be high in one and low in the other, you can be high in both, you can be low in both.

Here are a few characteristics of high NFAers.

- high NFA people are influenced by mood. For example, put them in a good mood (through a sunny day, a warm room etc) and they are much more able to be persuaded to do or buy or think something. Not so with low NFAers.
- high NFAers experience narrative transportation to a much greater extent that low NFAers. They get drawn into a story. This can be used very effectively to persuade them of something.
- high NFAers are more open to feel emotion, so have lower trigger levels for things that will make them feel something.
- Women tend to have a higher NFA than men. 

Our NFC and NFA are pretty much stable. There is no point judging each other on this or trying to change each other. We are what we are. It isn't a sin thing. 

It's about how we naturally process information. You can consider your NFC and NFA scores together and find out what kind of processor you are.

NFC - greater than 107 = high nfc. Less than 107 = low nfc
NFA - greater than 85 = high nfa. Less than 85 = low nfa

Low NFC, Low NFA = passive processor
Low NFC, High NFA = feeling processor
High NFC, High NFA = combination processor
High NFC, Low NFA = thinking processor

Now, I find all of this fascinating, but it's particularly interesting when you use it to think about music in church. Thoughts on that will come in another post.

What kind of processor are you?


  1. Hey Simone - sounds like some interesting research you're doing here! Thankyou for sharing