Self-generated cognitive fluency as an alternative route to preference formation

Merryn Constable, Andrew Bayliss, Steven Tipper, Ada Kritikos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


People tend to prefer fluently processed over harder to process information. In this study we examine two issues concerning fluency and preference. First, previous research has pre-selected fluent and non-fluent materials. We did not take this approach yet show that the fluency of individuals’ idiosyncratic on-line interactions with a given stimulus can influence preference formation. Second, while processing fluency influences preference, the opposite also may be true: preferred stimuli could be processed more fluently than non-preferred. Participants performed a visual search task either before or after indicating their preferred images from an array of either paintings by Kandinsky or decorated coffee mugs. Preferred stimuli were associated with fluent processing, reflected in facilitated search times. Critically, this was only the case for participants who gave their preferences after completing the visual search task, not for those stating preferences prior to the visual search task. Our results suggest that the spontaneous and idiosyncratic experience of processing fluency plays a role in forming preference judgments and conversely that our first impressions of preference do not drive response fluency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-52
Number of pages6
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Issue number1
Early online date19 Dec 2012
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


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