Personal Need for Structure: Individual Differences in the Desire for Simple Structure

Steven Neuberg, Jason T. Newsom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

758 Scopus citations


Individual differences in the desire for simple structure may influence how people understand, experience, and interact with their worlds. Studies 1 and 2 revealed that the Personal Need for Structure (PNS) scale (M. Thompson, M. Naccarato, & K. Parker, 1989, 1992) possesses sufficient reliability and convergent and discriminant validity. In Studies 3-5, Ss high in PNS were especially likely to organize social and nonsocial information in less complex ways, stereotype others, and complete their research requirements on time. These data suggest that people differ in their chronic desire for simple structure and that this difference can have important social-cognitive and behavioral implications. A consideration of chronic information-processing motives may facilitate the theoretical integration of social cognition, affect, motivation, and personality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-131
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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