Need for Closure Scale: Can You Tolerate Uncertainty?

The cognitive need for closure refers to the sense of urgency some people have to get immediate answers and clarity about things in their lives.
Need for Closure Scale: Can You Tolerate Uncertainty?

Last update: 17 May, 2020

Over the course of your life, you’ll have to deal with uncertainty. Everyone does. Things will come up that you couldn’t have predicted, as well as circumstances in which your past experience won’t help much, if at all. However, not everyone reacts the same way to uncertainty. While some people feel fairly comfortable in this kind of cognitive limbo, others want to get back to stable ground as soon as possible. These kinds of differences are exactly what the Need for Closure Scale (NFCS) measures.

If you observe the people around you, you’ll find some who have a hard time making decisions, looking ahead, or committing to an opinion. You’ll also encounter individuals who strongly prefer order, routine, and concrete ideas.

Today, we’re going to talk about the Need for Closure Scale, which can help you identify which category you fall into. If you’re interested, keep reading!

A guy with glasses and question marks around his head.

What’s the need for cognitive closure?

This concept refers to the impulse to seek out and maintain a definitive answer to a problem or event. It stems from an aversion to confusion, uncertainty, or ambiguity.

In spite of the fact that external circumstances can influence our responses, we’re all predisposed to place ourselves on some point on this relatively stable continuum.

The need for closure has two different tendencies:

  • The urgency tendency. This refers to the need for an immediate answer to an uncertain situation. For example, “When will I find out if I got the job or not?” Those who have a marked urgency tendency tend to make decisions very quickly and can experience a lot of anxiety when things aren’t concrete.
  • The permanence tendency. This is the strong desire to maintain and perpetuate the cognitive closure you’ve managed to get. You need the answers to stay stable and true, and you strive to avoid any new information that would affect that stability.

The need for closure scale

The need for closure scale is an instrument that makes it possible to measure where you’re on the continuum. While the original test has 42 statements, today, we’re going to show you an abbreviated version.

The scale consists of 14 statements to which you should assign a point value between 1 (completely disagree) and 6 (completely agree), depending on which describes you the best.

Need for Closure Scale statements

  • In uncertain situations, I prefer to make an immediate decision, whatever that is.
  • When I’m faced with several potentially valid options, I choose one quickly and without hesitation.
  • When I have to make a decision, I prefer to make them based on the first available solution, instead of carefully considering what decisions I should take.
  • I feel very uncomfortable when things around me aren’t in place.
  • I generally avoid participating in discussions about ambiguous or controversial subjects.
  • When I need to deal with a problem, I don’t think much about it, I just decide without doubting myself.
  • When I need to solve a problem, I don’t usually waste time thinking about different points of view.
  • I prefer to be with people who have the same ideas as me and the same likes and dislikes.
  • In general, I don’t look for alternative solutions to problems for which I already have an available solution.
  • I feel uncomfortable when I don’t have a quick answer to a problem that I’m facing.
  • Any solution to a problem is better than living in a state of uncertainty.
  • I prefer activities in which it’s very clear what needs to be done and how to do it.
  • Once I find a solution to a problem, I feel like it’s useless to waste time thinking about other possible solutions.
  • I prefer things that I’m used to over things I don’t know or can’t predict.
A redhead with a need for closure.

Interpreting the results

To get your final score, just add the points you assigned to each item. Your score should be somewhere between 0 and 84. The higher the score, the higher your need for cognitive closure. 

This concept has an influence when it comes to coming up with hypotheses and alternatives to situations that come up in your life. Also, this  has to do with how empathetic, tolerant, and flexible you are in terms of judgment and decision-making.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Horcajo, J., Díaz, D., Gandarillas, B., & Briñol, P. (2011). Adaptación al castellano del Test de Necesidad de Cierre Cognitivo. Psicothema23(4), 864-870.
  • Luis, J., Cervone, N., Biglieri, J., & Quattrocchi, P. Propiedades psicométricas del Test revisado de Necesidad de cierre cognitivo (TR-NCC) en una muestra de estudiantes de la Universidad de Buenos Aires.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.