When diversity leads to closed-mindedness: Cognitive factors explain the effects of perceived diversity

Birga M. Schumpe, Jocelyn J. Bélanger, Claudia F. Nisa, Antonio Pierro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper makes a case for explaining diversity effects through cognitive factors as compared to demographic or other differences in backgrounds. We argue that studying perceived diversity in conjunction with diversity beliefs can explain positive and negative effects through a motivated opening or closing of the mind (Need for Cognitive Closure, NFCC). NFCC is the motivation to avoid uncertainty and ambiguity. In Study 1, we experimentally demonstrate that asking participants to think about differences among their coworkers increases their NFCC. Study 2 shows that greater uncertainty about social norms in the workplace is positively related to NFCC. Study 3 confirms the mediating role of NFCC in explaining divergent thinking attitudes in expatriates working in various multicultural cities around the world. Study 4 demonstrates that perceived diversity is positively associated with NFCC when people hold negative beliefs about diversity, whereas positive beliefs mitigate this effect. Lastly, Study 5 shows that the interaction between perceived diversity and diversity beliefs is further moderated by task type. Taken together, the present research highlights the importance of studying cognitive factors to explain diversity effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCurrent Psychology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Diversity beliefs
  • Diversity effects
  • Need for cognitive closure
  • Perceived diversity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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