When Does Feeling of Fluency Matter? How Abstract and Concrete Thinking Influence Fluency Effects
Psychological Science, Vol. 22, No. 3, pp. 348-354, 2011
8 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2010 Last revised: 4 Apr 2011
Date Written: 2011
It has been widely documented that fluency (ease of information processing) enhances evaluation. We propose and demonstrate in three experiments that this is not the case when people construe objects abstractly rather than concretely. Specifically, we find that priming people to think abstractly mitigates the effect of fluency on subsequent evaluative judgments (Studies 1 and 2). However, when feelings such as fluency are understood to be signals of value, fluency enhances evaluation in people primed to think abstractly (Study 3). These results suggest that abstract thinking helps distinguish central decision inputs from the less important, incidental inputs, whereas concrete thinking does not make such a distinction. Thus, abstract thinking can augment or attenuate fluency effects, depending on whether fluency is considered important or incidental information.
Keywords: Abstract Thinking, Mindset, Liking, Fluency, Charitable Giving, Feeling-Based Judgment, Heuristics and Biases
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