The present study provides a neurobiological framework to the theory of epistemic motivation that has been extensively studied for the last three decades in the domain of social cognition. Epistemic motivations affect the way people generate and validate hypotheses, and ultimately form and modify knowledge. Strong dispositional measures such as need for cognitive closure (NCC), the desire for a quick firm answer (any answer) to a question, show gross and stable inter-individual differences. The cognitive mechanisms and neural underpinnings of such differences, however, remain largely unexplored. Here we show that high (compared to low) levels of NCC, measured with need for cognitive closure scale, are associated with reduced online adjustment in cognitive control, as indexed by behavioral conflict adaptation. This behavioral effect is mediated by dynamic changes in cortico-cortical functional connectivity between prefrontal regions involved in conflict monitoring and implementation of cognitive control. In particular, these regions show increased functional connectivity after exposure to conflict in low but not high NCC individuals. These results demonstrate that the level of flexibility of functional cortico-cortical connections can mediate stable psychological dispositions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)