Perceptions of the police: The role of need for cognition and numeracy
Need for cognition, Numeracy, Perceptions of the police, Thinking disposition
The public's perceptions of the police are related to people's willingness to obey the law and cooperate with law enforcement. Past research has found that demographics affect perceptions of the police. This study hypothesizes that those with a higher level of need for cognition and numeracy have more positive attitudes toward the police, possibly because they are more likely to recognize the importance and necessity of the police. 443 U.S. residents participated in this study via MTurk in May 2019. The demographic variables of age, gender, education, race, income, political ideology and party affiliation were collected. Crime rate was estimated via zip code obtained by searching IP address. Participants also completed the need for cognition, subjective and objective sales. As a result, in addition to replicating the role of demographic variables and crime rate, the study found that after controlling for demographics and crime rate, perceptions of the police were positively related to need for cognition and subjective and objective numeracy. Overall, this study indicates that thinking disposition and cognitive ability play a significant role in how the public perceives the police. The study also implies that perceptions of the police was a class issue. Future studies on hot social issues could extend their focus to cognitive factors.
Department of Psychology
Original Publication Date
DOI of published version
UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
Pham, Carolyn and Cheng, Jiuqing, "Perceptions of the police: The role of need for cognition and numeracy" (2020). Faculty Publications. 229.