Episode 47: Need for Cognition – Is Thinking a Pleasure or a Pain?

In this episode, Phil explains what Need for Cognition is, most easily defined as a scale ranging from enjoying thinking and finding it as something internally motivated, down to something that is a reluctant chore that requires external motivation. Most notably, someone can be highly intelligent but low need for cognition.


  • Need for Cognition: a personality variable reflecting the extent to which individuals are inclined towards effortful cognitive activities.
  • Elaboration Likelihood Model: a model explaining the chances whether someone will engage with an argument by it’s rational, logical merits, or go off of quick shorthand 
  • The Big 5 Personality Traits: the leading personality model we have (not the PoS MBTI)
  • Fluid and Crystalized Intelligence:  
    • Fluid intelligence is the ability to solve novel reasoning problems and is correlated with a number of important skills such as comprehension, problem solving, and learning. 
    • Crystallized intelligence involves the ability to deduce secondary relational abstractions by applying previously learned primary relational abstractions.
  • Evolutionary Psychology: a theoretical approach in psychology that examines cognition and behavior from a modern evolutionary perspective.
  • Heuristics: any approach to problem solving or self-discovery that employs a practical method that is not guaranteed to be optimal, perfect, or rational, but is nevertheless sufficient for reaching an immediate, short-term goal or approximation. 
  • Ethics: a branch of philosophy that “involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior”.
  • Replication Crisis: an ongoing methodological crisis in which it has been found that the results of many scientific studies are difficult or impossible to reproduce.
  • Ego Depletion: the idea that self-control or willpower draws upon a limited pool of mental resources that can be used up (with the word “ego” used in the psychoanalytic sense rather than the colloquial sense).
  • Episode 10: Actor-Observer Bias
  • Gross Domestic Product: a monetary measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced in a specific time period by countries.
  • Permaculture: an approach to land management and settlement design that adopts arrangements observed in flourishing natural ecosystems.
  • Stakeholder Capitalism: a system in which corporations are oriented to serve the interests of all their stakeholders. Among the key stakeholders are customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders and local communities.
  • Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory (the MBTI): A trash, pseudoscientific approach to measurieng personality. (A source, but you can find plenty more)
  • HEXACO personality model: The HEXACO model of personality conceptualizes human personality in terms of six dimensions.
  • Absorption: A disposition or personality trait in which a person becomes absorbed in their mental imagery, particularly fantasy.
  • RE: Gender and Rationality in Victorian England—Could not find anything on it, so probably best to disregard. Please provide sources if you have them.
  • Directionality (Statistics): Not the correct term, but can’t find it.
  • Cognitive-Experiential Self-Theory: a dual-process model of perception based around the idea that people operate using two separate systems for information processing: analytical-rational and intuitive-experiential.

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