The Need for Closure

Not everyone has the same impulse when it comes to ambiguity. Some people are very uncomfortable with confusion, and their minds jump to quick decisions in the face of uncertainty. Others are content to be confused a while, and may even find it makes them more creative. Even with this article, some may have read the ambiguous headline and been intrigued -- while others may have felt annoyed or daunted.

Psychologists describe the degree to which people seek out certainty as their "need for closure." This trait varies not just from person to person, but also with environmental factors, like fatigue, time pressure and stress.

The need for closure doesn’t have anything to do with intelligence, but it can have a powerful influence on your behavior -- including your capacity to innovate, your predilection for stereotyping, and your ability to make decisions in times of crisis.

Ana Swanson writing in the Washington Post