Cognitive motivation and religious orientation

Daniel W. Barrett, Julie Patock-Peckham, Geoffrey T. Hutchinson, Craig T. Nagoshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


This research investigated the hypothesis that the more circumscribed religious orientations should be systematically related to broader social-cognitive motivations tapping general needs for order, structure, consistency, and certainty. Specifically, the relationships between four cognitive motivations (Need for Cognition, Preference for Consistency, Personal Need for Structure, and Personal Fear of Invalidity) and the Means (extrinsic), End (intrinsic), and Quest orientations were examined. Five hundred and twenty seven undergraduates completed questionnaires assessing each of these constructs. A path model tested with structural equation modeling demonstrated good support for the influence of general cognitive motivations on the more specific religious motivations. Key findings include: Need for Cognition and internal Preference for Consistency positively influenced Quest orientation; Need for Cognition directly and Personal Need for Structure indirectly correlated with Means orientation; public Preference for Consistency positively and internal Preference for Consistency negatively predicted Means orientation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)461-474
Number of pages14
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2005


  • Motivation
  • Religious orientation
  • Social cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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