Bar-Tal, Y., Kishon-Rabin, L., & Tabak, N. (in press). The effect of need and ability to achieve cognitive structuring on cognitive structuring. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

This research explores the hypothesis that the relationship between need for structure and cognitive structuring behavior is moderated by the ability to achieve cognitive structure (AACS). Need for structure is defined as the preference to use cognitive structuring as a means to achieve certainty. AACS refers to the extent to which individuals are able to use information processing processes (cognitive structuring or piecemeal) consistent with the level of their need for structure. We suggest that only under high AACS will there be a positive correlation between need for structure and cognitive structuring behavior. In contrast, under low AACS the correlation will be negative. To examine this hypothesis, we used different operationalizations of the need for structure, AACS and of cognitive structuring behavior. The results of the five studies in which this was done confirmed the hypothesis.