Perceptions of the Police: The Role of Need for Cognition and Numeracy
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. In addition to replicating the role of demographic variables, the study found that after controlling for demographics, perceptions of the police were positively related to need for cognition and subjective and objective numeracy. Overall, this study indicated that thinking disposition and cognitive ability play a significant role in how the public perceives the police.
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