ERIC Number: EJ784497
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Mar
Reference Count: 0
A Rose in Any Other Font Would Not Smell as Sweet: Effects of Perceptual Fluency on Categorization
Oppenheimer, Daniel M.; Frank, Michael C.
Cognition, v106 n3 p1178-1194 Mar 2008
Fluency--the ease with which people process information--is a central piece of information we take into account when we make judgments about the world. Prior research has shown that fluency affects judgments in a wide variety of domains, including frequency, familiarity, and confidence. In this paper, we present evidence that fluency also plays a role in categorization judgments. In Experiment 1, participants judged a variety of different exemplars to be worse category members if they were less fluent (because they were presented in a smaller typeface). In Experiment 2, we found that fluency also affected judgments of feature typicality. In Experiment 3, we demonstrated that the effects of fluency can be reversed when a salient attribution for reduced fluency is available (i.e., the stimuli are hard to read because they were printed by a printer with low toner). In Experiment 4 we replicated these effects using a within-subject design, which ruled out the possibility that the effects were a statistical artifact caused by aggregation of data. We propose a possible mechanism for these effects: if an exemplar and its category are closely related, activation of one will cause priming of the other, leading to increased fluency. Over time, feelings of fluency come to be used as a valid cue that can become confused with more traditional sources of information about category membership.
Descriptors: Familiarity, Classification, Cognitive Processes, Layout (Publications), Cues, Stimuli, Printed Materials
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
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