Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2010 American Psychological Association False Fame Prevented: Avoiding Fluency Effects Without Judgmental Correction Three studies show a way to prevent fluency effects independently of judgmental correction strategies byidentifying and procedurally blocking the sources of fluency variations, which are assumed to beembodied in nature. For verbal stimuli, covert pronunciations are assumed to be the crucial source offluency gains. As a consequence, blocking such pronunciation simulations through a secondary oralmotor task decreased the false-fame effect for repeatedly presented names of actors (Experiment 1) aswell as prevented increases in trust due to repetition for brand names and names of shares in the stockmarket (Experiment 2). Extending this evidence beyond repeated exposure, we demonstrated thatblocking oral motor simulations also prevented fluency effects of word pronunciation on judgments ofhazardousness (Experiment 3). Concerning the realm of judgment correction, this procedural blocking of(biasing) associative processes is a decontamination method not considered before in the literature,because it is independent of exposure control, mood, motivation, and post hoc correction strategies. Thepresent results also have implications for applied issues, such as advertising and investment decisions.
Keywords: fluency, judgment, embodiment, judgment correction, decontamination In their classical study, Jacoby, Kelley, Brown, and Jasechko did not attribute this feeling of familiarity to the fame of the names (1989) presented names to participants who were told that the but rather to the prior exposure (cf. Schwarz & Clore, 1983; names belonged to people who were not famous. Then, in a Strack, 1992; Strack & Hannover, 1996; Strack, Martin, & subsequent test phase, participants received these old names to- Schwarz, 1988). Moreover, they could well remember the infor- gether with new names and were asked to judge the fame of these mation that the names they had just received belonged to people persons. For participants for whom this test phase followed after a who were not famous and thus correctly judged these old names as delay of 24 hr, old names were more likely to be judged famous being less famous than new names (for which no particular clue to than were new names. In contrast, for participants for whom the fame was provided). In contrast, the participants for whom the test test phase followed immediately after the study phase, old names phase followed after 24 hr could not recollect anymore which were less likely to be called famous than were new names.
names had actually been on the study list. Having forgotten the Why did this pattern occur? Reading the old names in the study actual source of fluency, they did not discount fluency from their phase rendered their processing more efficient later in the test fame judgments but rather used it as a cue to fame (Jacoby & phase (cf. Jacoby & Dallas, 1981; Jacoby & Whitehouse, 1989; Kelley, 1987; Jacoby, Kelley, et al., 1989; Jacoby & Whitehouse, Jacoby, Woloshyn, & Kelley, 1989; Whittlesea, Jacoby, & Girard, 1990). This increased processing fluency triggered a brief positive This study itself has become famous, being literally the textbook affect (cf. Harmon-Jones & Allen, 2001; Reber, Winkielman, & example of how fluency may infiltrate judgments as an experience Schwarz, 1998; Topolinski, Likowski, Weyers, & Strack, 2009; and how it can be corrected for (e.g., Clore, 1992). The pervasive Topolinski & Strack, 2009a, 2009b, 2009d; Winkielman & impact of fluency was shown for a wide range of judgments that Cacioppo, 2001; for an integrative review, see Reber, Schwarz, & exploit the ease of processing a target, whether the fluency Winkielman, 2004) that was experienced as a feeling of ease that stemmed from repeated exposure (as just described) or from other can readily be attributed to familiarity (cf. Bornstein & sources such as subliminally primed targets (e.g., Jacoby & White- D’Agostino, 1992; Garcia-Marques, Mackie, Claypool, & Garcia- house, 1989). Because fluency can be mapped onto many dimen- Marques, 2004; Whittlesea, 1993). The participants for whom the sions, the affected judgments range from judgments concerning test phase followed immediately after the study phase, however, physical properties of the target (e.g., Jacoby, Allan, Collins, &Larwill, 1988; Whittlesea et al., 1990) to the veridicality of astatement (the truth effect, Bacon, 1979; Hasher, Goldstein, & Sascha Topolinski and Fritz Strack, Department of Psychology II, Toppino, 1977; see also Begg, Anas, & Farinacci, 1992; Reber & University of Wuerzburg, Wuerzburg, Germany.
Schwarz, 1999; Unkelbach, 2007) to preference (Phaf & Rotteveel, This research was partially funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemein- 2005; Reber, Schwarz, & Winkielman, 2004) and intuition (Topo- schaft (Research Training Group RTG 1253/1). We thank Friederike Fin- linski & Strack, 2009a, 2009b, 2009d).
ger, Rebecca Spatz, and Carolin Kempf for their support in running the In some cases, fluency is a valid cue to the judgmental criterion, such as in the case of familiarity (e.g., Jacoby & Kelley, 1987; Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Sascha Jacoby & Whitehouse, 1989; Johnston, Dark, & Jacoby, 1985; Topolinski, Department of Psychology II, Social Psychology, University ofWuerzburg, Roentgenring 10, 97070 Wuerzburg, Germany. E-mail: Whittlesea, 1993; Whittlesea et al., 1990; Whittlesea & Williams, 2000; for reviews concerning the involved memory systems, see Rajaram, 1996; Yonelinas, 2002), because prior exposure and notion of embodiment, we represent stimuli by covertly simulating fluency are ecologically correlated (e.g., Jacoby & Dallas, 1981).
those sensorimotor processes that are specifically associated with In other cases, however, fluency is not a valid cue and may have them (e.g., Barsalou, 1999; Glenberg & Robertson, 2000; Grush, powerful biasing effects, such as in persuasion (e.g., Allport & 2004; Hommel, Mu¨sseler, Aschersleben, & Prinz, 2001; Lepkin, 1945; Cacioppo & Petty, 1979; Skurnik, Yoon, Park, & Niedenthal, 2007; Stu¨rmer, Aschersleben, & Prinz, 2000; Wilson, Schwarz, 2005; Weaver, Garcia, Schwarz, & Miller, 2007) or 2002). For instance, passive viewing of graspable objects automat- advertising (Fang, Singh, & Ahluwalia, 2007; Hawkins & Hoch, ically activates those brain regions that are responsible for actually 1992). Yet in other cases fluency may even cause irrational be- grasping them (e.g., Craighero, Fadiga, Umilta`, & Rizzolatti, 1996; havior with substantial economic consequences; for instance, if the Tucker & Ellis, 1998), or hearing a sound played by a piano fluency of names of authentic shares in the stock markets influ- automatically triggers motor activity in the fingers of piano players ences the prices of these shares (Alter & Oppenheimer, 2006), if (e.g., Bangert & Altenmu¨ller, 2003; Drost, Rieger, Brass, Gunter, the fluency of product names determines consumers’ choice & Prinz, 2005; Haueisen & Kno¨sche, 2001). Likewise, in highly (Novemsky, Dhar, Schwarz, & Simonson, 2007), or if nutrition skilled typists, the mere perception of letters triggers the motor additives with fluent names are rated as less toxic than additives programs to type them (Beilock & Holt, 2007; Van den Bergh, with less fluent names (Song & Schwarz, 2009).
Besides excessive relearning of the direction between fluency We argue that it is the efficiency of these covert stimulus- and judgmental criterion (Unkelbach, 2007), the only means to specific sensorimotor simulations that actually drives fluency ef- prevent the impact of fluency that have been discussed in the fects. When perceiving a certain stimulus, these automatically literature are mechanisms of judgmental correction (decontamina- running covert sensorimotor simulations run more or less fluently tion, Wilson & Brekke, 1994; debiasing, Larrick, 2004; see also (Beilock & Holt, 2007; Topolinski & Strack, 2009c; Van den the General Discussion). For instance, discrediting the informa- Bergh et al., 1990). An unexpectedly high degree of fluency tional value of fluency has been found to result in spontaneous (Hansen, Decheˆne, & Wa¨nke, 2008; Whittlesea & Williams, 2000, discounting (e.g., Oppenheimer, 2005; Schwarz et al., 1991; for 2001a, 2001b) automatically triggers a subtle positive affect reviews, see Clore, 1992; Kelley & Rhodes, 2002; Schwarz, 2004).
(Harmon-Jones & Allen, 2001; Reber et al., 1998; Topolinski et However, judgmental correction for fluency is possible only if al., 2009; Winkielman & Cacioppo, 2001) that is experienced as a individuals are aware of it (Hertwig, Herzog, Schooler, & Reimer, cognitive feeling (e.g., Clore et al., 2001; Schwarz & Clore, 2007) 2008; Strack & Hannover, 1996; Topolinski & Strack, 2009b, and may bias the eventual judgment (Schwarz, 2002, 2004).
2009d; see also Reber, Wurtz, & Zimmermann, 2004), if an This is illustrated in the empirical findings concerning letter alternative source of fluency is provided to attribute it to (e.g., perception in highly skilled typists (Van den Bergh et al., 1990).
Hasher et al., 1997; Jacoby, Kelley, et al., 1989; Schwarz & Clore, There, highly skilled typists were asked to spontaneously indicate 1983), and if individuals know in which direction they should their liking of letter dyads in a task that did not entail typing any correct their judgment (Nisbett & Wilson, 1977; Strack, 1992; letters. It was found that letter combinations that—when actually Strack & Hannover, 1996). In most cases, these conditions are not being typed— do not produce motor interference between fingers met, which prompted Oppenheimer (2008) to write about the are preferred over letter dyads that do. Apparently, participants had covertly simulated typing the letters, which led to increased sim- Thus, the only way to escape the pervasive influences was ulation fluency for noninterfering compared with interfering letter considered to be judgmental correction, a strategy that takes place combinations and elicited a positive affect that drove those pref- at a later stage of information processing. However, by that time fluency has already contaminated the judgment. The earlier stages That this is actually the case was most recently shown by during which fluency is assumed to infiltrate the judgment were Beilock and Holt (2007), who engaged typists in a concurrent not considered a feasible stage of correction. Once fluency was manual motor task during the same preference-rating task. Obvi- altered, the judgment was seen to be hopelessly tainted. However, ously, engaging the manual motor system in a concurrent task if one succeeded in identifying the exact processes that exhibit prevents simulations of typing the letters. As a consequence, the fluency variations, one could attenuate fluency variations and thus preference bias toward noninterfering letter combinations was reduce its impact on the judgment from the outset. This could be attenuated (Beilock & Holt, 2007). Thus, blocking underlying achieved by identifying the actual source of the fluency gains, covert sensorimotor simulations attenuated the immediate hedonic which could then be manipulated or blocked to prevent its impact on judgments in a way that makes subsequent correction processes A similar approach was most recently applied to implicit mem- unnecessary. With this goal in mind, we first outline our theoret- ory, namely the mere exposure phenomenon (Zajonc, 1968; for a ical claims and then present three experiments in which fluency review, see Bornstein, 1989), which is the increased preference was prevented from influencing judgments without the need for toward repeatedly encountered stimuli. Topolinski and Strack (2009c) exploited the notion of an embodied memory by Glenberg(1997) that the past of an object to individuals is the traces of Embodied Precursors of Fluency
sensorimotor responses they collected with it (see also Cohen,1989; Engelkamp & Zimmer, 1980; Saltz & Donnenwerth-Nolan, Most recently, new approaches have adopted an embodied ac- 1981; cf. the notion of object affordances, Gibson, 1979) and also count of fluency by exploring its procedural undercurrents as being the hedonic consequences of these responses (MacDorman, 1997).
sensorimotor processes (Beilock & Holt, 2007; Topolinski & More specifically, Topolinski and Strack (2009c) argued that when Strack, 2009c), which are outlined in the following. Regarding the stimuli are repeatedly encountered, the sensorimotor responses specifically associated with them are covertly simulated and run Experiment 1
more efficiently when executed repeatedly. Applied to the case ofverbal stimuli such as words, the predominant response of pro- How Not to Become Famous Overnight
nouncing them (Stroop, 1935) is automatically covertly simulatedwhen perceiving them. Because it is known that repeated exposure As outlined earlier, the classical becoming-famous-overnight to words increases the fluency of overtly pronouncing them (For- effect (Jacoby, Kelley, et al., 1989) depends on the increased ster & Davis, 1984; Savage, Bradley, & Forster, 1990; Scarbor- fluency of names that were preexposed in a study phase compared ough, Cortese, & Scarborough, 1977), Topolinski and Strack with names that were not presented before (Bornstein & (2009c) argued that also the sensorimotor simulations of pro- D’Agostino, 1992). The present experiment addresses the question nouncing words run more fluently with repetition, which may of whether these fluency gains stem from covert sensorimotor result in immediate hedonic consequences that drive mere expo- simulations specifically related to names. Because names as verbal stimuli are intimately mediated by the oral motor system (e.g., Testing this hypothesis, Topolinski and Strack (2009c) blocked Inoue, Ono, Honda, & Kurabayashi, 2007), we argue that the stimulus-specific motor simulations during a mere exposure par- becoming-famous-overnight effect substantially depends on oral adigm. More specifically, they prevented the oral motor system motor simulations. To test this, we conceptually replicated the from simulating by letting participants chew gum (see Experiment classical setup by Jacoby, Kelley, et al. (1989) and implemented 1) or whisper a task-irrelevant word (see Experiment 2) during two concurrent motor tasks, of which one should prevent oral and repeated exposure to neutral visual characters (visual stimuli not the other should prevent manual motor simulations during study- mediated by the oral motor system) and to nonsense words (verbal ing the words. We predicted that the classical effect by Jacoby, stimuli mediated by the oral motor system). As a consequence, Kelley, et al., namely the misattribution of increased fluency to they found mere exposure effects for the visual stimuli but not for fame, would vanish under the oral motor task but would still be the words. In contrast, engaging the manual motor system in a detected under a manual motor task. Importantly, this should occur concurrent task (that is not related to either verbal or visual not because participants could more successfully engage in a stimuli) had no such specific effects but rather yielded mere correction process but because fluency gains could not be acquired exposure effects for both visual characters and words. These findings extend the role of sensorimotor simulations to implicitmemory (Schacter, 1987). The question, however, remains whether these embodied simulations are also responsible for thebiasing effects of fluency on social-cognitive judgments.
Fifty (34 female) undergraduate psychology students participated for course credit.
Materials and procedure.
Aim of the Present Work
Bollywood actors (e.g., Aishwarya Rai), whose names rangedfrom 10 to 22 letters in length, were used. Each item consisted of Taken together, the findings by Beilock and Holt (2007) and a first name and a last name. A pilot study revealed that on Topolinski and Strack (2009c) provide initial evidence concern- average, less than 5% of these names were known to German raters ing the underlying embodied processes that drive the hedonic (N ϭ 10). After arrival in the lab, participants were told that they consequences of fluency. In the present approach, we investi- would participate in a study assessing the cultural impact of the gate whether sensorimotor simulations are the force driving the Asian culture and that they were to judge how famous authentic biasing effects of fluency on social-cognitive judgments. Iden- Asian actors are in Germany. Additionally, they were told that tifying the mechanisms underlying fluency (Oppenheimer, simple movements had to be executed concurrently to this task to 2008), we trace back how embodied mechanisms generate the experiential cues (Strack, 1992) that may bias judgments and First, in a study phase, participants received 20 randomly chosen demonstrate how they can be prevented without the need for names and were asked to merely read them. Each name was post hoc judgmental correction processes to debias (Larrick, presented for 2,000 ms followed by an intertrial interval of 1,000 2004; Schwarz, 2002, 2004) or decontaminate (Wilson & ms. This was followed by a pause of 60 s during which participants should simply relax. Then, a test phase followed in which the 20 Because the present approach cannot cover all the fluency old names from the study phase reappeared together with 20 new effects found in the literature (as reviewed earlier; see also names in a random order. Participants were asked to indicate how Oppenheimer, 2008, for a succinct review), we limited the famous these names were to them using a Likert scale ranging present research to the most classical stimulus type found in from 0 (Not famous at all) to 10 (Very famous). They were also fluency research, which are simple verbal stimuli, such as told that the name could repeatedly appear. To engage participants names. To initially provide evidence that the biasing effects of in concurrent tasks either allowing a covert motor simulation of fluency can be neutralized once its underlying mechanisms are pronouncing the items or not, we had participants engage in either identified, we chose the repeated exposure of names in judg- an oral or a manual motor task, respectively. To ensure that our ments of fame (see Experiment 1) and trustworthiness (see manipulation did not interfere with the proper encoding of the Experiment 2) and chose word pronunciation in judgments of preexposed stimuli in the first place, we implemented these con- current motor tasks only during the test phase at the time of the fame rating (cf. Topolinski, in press; Experiment 2).1 In the al., 1989; see also Cermak, Verfaellie, Butler, & Jacoby, 1993; manual-motor-task group (n ϭ 25), participants were asked to Jacoby & Whitehouse, 1989; Jacoby, Woloshyn, & Kelley, 1989).
move a soft foam ball slightly in the left hand while using the We replicated the finding that repeated exposure of names influ- computer mouse with the right hand to provide the fame ratings ences the fluency-based fame judgments of these names (Jacoby, (cf. Topolinski & Strack, 2009c). In the oral-motor-task group Kelley, et al., 1989) under a concurrent task that involves a motor (n ϭ 25), however, participants were asked to eat popcorn during system that is not associated with these verbal stimuli. However, the test phase (cf. Topolinski & Strack, 2009c; for other ways to this effect was destroyed by implementing during the test phase a engage or block the oral motor system, see Campbell, Rosen, concurrent motor task that selectively engaged the motor system Solis-Macias, & White, 1991; Cinan & Tano¨r, 2002; Emerson & that is most closely related to words, namely the mouth. Note that Miyake, 2003; Miyake, Emerson, Padilla, & Ahn, 2004; Saeki & pronouncing the words was actually not necessary to accomplish Saito, 2004). The procedure took 5–10 min.
the task, and participants were not instructed to do so. We suggestthat, instead, covert simulations of pronouncing the appearing names were automatically triggered (Stroop, 1935; cf. Beilock &Holt, 2007; Van den Bergh et al., 1990) but were blocked by the Over the fame ratings in the test phase, a 2 (exposure: old items, concurrent oral motor task in the test phase. Thus, covert pronun- new items) ϫ 2 (concurrent motor task: manual, oral) analysis of ciation of the words may have been trained during the study phase variance (ANOVA) was run with motor task as a between-subjects but could not exhibit fluency gains for old compared with new factor. A main effect of exposure, F(1, 48) ϭ 5.54, p Ͻ .023, ␩2 ϭ items during the test phase, which diminished the effect of re- .10, surfaced, as well as an interaction between exposure and motor task, F(1, 48) ϭ 4.12, p Ͻ .05, ␩2 ϭ .08. The conditional means are How substantially the fluency effect depends on covert oral displayed in Table 1. Planned comparisons showed that in the simulation is reflected in the fact that obviously participants in the manual control group, old names were rated to be more famous oral group did not switch over to visual fluency as a cue for their than new names, t(24) ϭ 2.70, p Ͻ .012, d ϭ 0.43. However, in the judgments. Although their access to the oral motor representation oral group, no difference between old items and new items was of the target may have been impaired, their processing of the visual appearance of the names was not; yet visual fluency was not used To additionally investigate the possible role of time of judgment (cf. Topolinski & Strack, 2009c, Experiment 1), which is in formation, we first calculated the correlations between the value of contrast to earlier considerations (Jacoby & Hollingshead, 1990; a given fame judgment and the response latencies for this judg- ment on a trial level, separately for each condition in the 2 ϫ 2 In contrast to the original study (Jacoby, Kelley, et al., 1989), design. None of the obtained correlation coefficients exceeded an this study did not even require participants to wait for 24 hr to absolute value of r ϭ .05 and was close to significance. Mean obtain a fluency impact on fame judgments, as was necessary in response latencies for the fame judgments in the manual group the classical study. This is easily explained by the fact that we did were 2,844 ms (SD ϭ 1,411) for new items and 2,872 ms (SD ϭ not tell participants that the names in the study list were not 1,522) for old items. Moreover, none of the differences in the famous (because we were not interested in judgmental correction response latencies for the fame judgments between new and old processes; cf. Begg et al., 1992; Jacoby, Kelley, et al., 1989). Thus, items within the oral and the manual group—and for old and new participants did not engage in a correction process for old items in items between the oral and manual group—was statistically reli- which they discounted the experienced fluency but rather used the able (all ts Ͻ 1). In sum, if (a) response latency and judgment emerging feeling of fluency for their fame judgments, as it was value were unrelated and (b) the experimental conditions did not shown before (e.g., Cermak et al., 1993).
differ in response latency, then it is implausible that time of The pattern of the present interaction between exposure and judgment formation may have caused the present pattern.
motor blockade seems to be surprising at first glance (see Table 1)and should be further interpreted at this point, because we also Discussion
found it in the remaining studies. If asked to speculate about rating Two decades after publication of the original experiment, the levels in the false-fame paradigm under a prevention of fluency present experiment reveals that motor simulations are a substantial gains, one might predict that all targets, both old and new, receive causal force underlying the false-fame effect (Jacoby, Kelley, et ratings as low as the new targets in a control condition withoutfluency prevention, because none of the targets exhibits fluencygains, and thus all of them should be experienced as nonfamous. Incontrast, we found that the judgments under fluency prevention varied around an average mean similar to that of the prevention Average Fame Ratings of Actors in Experiment 1 as a Function group without showing a reliable difference between old and new items. Fluency prevention did not decrease the overall ratings but made them simply insensitive to the exposure manipulation.
This finding is easily explained by the fact that participants have no objective criterion for fluency and therefore experience fluencyvariations not as deviations from a precomputed norm but as We thank Norbert Schwarz for pointing us to this issue.
fluency differences within the particular items presented (Whit- Experiment 2
tlesea & Leboe, 2003; Whittlesea & Williams, 2000, 2001a,2001b; see also Kahneman & Miller, 1986), which was impres- A Broker’s Breakfast
sively demonstrated in recent research (Decheˆne, Stahl, Hansen, &Wa¨hnke, 2009; Hansen & Wa¨nke, 2008; Hansen et al., 2008).
Because processing fluency is readily attributed to any dimen- Thus, in the control condition new items receive low fame ratings sion that is asked for, a wide array of judgments can be biased by because they are contrasted with old items with regard to experi- it (see introduction). Of course, in many settings fluency is related enced fluency, and old items receive high fame ratings because to the judgmental criterion and may thus serve as a rational cue, for they are contrasted with new items. In the fluency-prevention instance to judge familiarity (Schwarz, Sanna, Skurnik, & Yoon, condition, however, the current target cannot be contrasted with 2007). However, judgmental effects of fluency can even reach into another particularly high or low fluent item, which results in the domains where fluency is no valid cue for the criterion, for observed intermediate rating level for all targets.
instance the trust in the veracity of a persuasive message or the One might object that in the present paradigm the participants in quality of an advertised product (e.g., Cacioppo & Petty, 1979; the oral motor group were not affected by fluency because they Fang et al., 2007; Hawkins & Hoch, 1992; Skurnik et al., 2005; more likely recollected having seen the name before in the study Weaver et al., 2007). Even in domains in which judgments should phase and attributed fluency to this prior episode (cf. remembering normatively be rational, because wrong decisions may harm indi- the priming event, Strack, Schwarz, Bless, Ku¨bler, & Wa¨nke, viduals’ financial well-being, biasing effects of criterion-irrelevant 1993). This, however, is unlikely because the delay between study processing fluency were found, namely when the pronunciation and test phase was the same for both the manual and the oral motor fluency of names of shares in the real-world stock market pre- group, thus rendering the likelihood of consciously recollecting the dicted their price developments (Alter & Oppenheimer, 2006; see study event equal for both groups. Moreover, we know from the also Novemsky et al., 2007). To address the question of whether literature that engaging in concurrent oral tasks even impairs these effects can also be prevented by blocking sensorimotor memory for words (Gupta & MacWhinney, 1995; for a review, see responses, we asked participants to rate the trustworthiness of share names and brand names under concurrent oral and manualmotor tasks, respectively.
Another related alternative interpretation of the present finding might be that the present body manipulations may have causedprocesses of cognitive tuning (Bless, 2001), which is the notion that individuals engage in more effortful and elaborated processing Participants.
Thirty (19 female) nonpsychology students par- when they are in an analytical rather than a heuristic processing ticipated for a compensation of €6 ($9 at that time).
style (e.g., Alter, Oppenheimer, Epley, & Eyre, 2007; Kuhl, 2000; Materials and procedure.
Schwarz, 2002; Strack & Deutsch, 2004; Whittlesea & Price, of companies in the stock market and of brand names of drugs. The 2001). For instance, Ruder and Bless (2003) found that analytic names of 36 shares were randomly chosen from the Asian stock processing style decreased the reliance on fluency in retrieving market indices Nikkei 225 and CSI 300 (effective 2008), and the memory contents. It could be possible that the present oral motor length of the names ranged from seven (e.g., Unitika) to 14 (e.g., task compared with the manual motor task induced a more analytic Zheijanghuahai) letters. The names of 36 drugs (e.g., Duragesic) processing style in participants, thereby increasing the likelihood were chosen from the top 200 U.S. brand-name drugs according to that they corrected their judgments for fluency (Begg et al., 1992; retail dollars in 2006 (retrieved from
Jacoby, Kelley, et al., 1989). This, however, is unlikely because The length of the drug names ranged from five (e.g., Zyvox) to nine previous research has shown that, if anything, engaging in oral motor tasks induces more heuristic information processing (Janis, The design of Experiment 1 was replicated by implementing Kaye, & Kirschner, 1965). Furthermore, although analytic com- concurrent motor tasks only during the test phase. However, the pared with heuristic processing requires more working memory following three modifications were made: First, using the financial capacity (Bless, 2001), it was found that engaging the mouth in world crisis as a cover story, we told participants that in these days concurrent motor tasks actually impairs working memory (Wilson, the trustworthiness of many companies is doubted and that the 2001). Furthermore, analytic processing in general is more time present experiment assesses the remaining trust of European peo- consuming than is heuristic processing (Bless, 2001). Our finding ple in Asian shares and in American brand names. In both the that the response latencies for judgment formation did not differ study and the test phases participants received the names and were between the experimental groups contradicts this possibility. Thus, asked to indicate how trustworthy the particular name was to them an inadvertent induction of analytical processing by the oral task using a Likert scale ranging from 0 (Not at all trustworthy) to 10 (Very trustworthy). Second, the pause between the study and test In conclusion, the present experiment identified the sensorimo- phases lasted 30 – 40 min and was filled with several unrelated tor foundations of fluency-based fame judgments (Jacoby, Kelley, experimental tasks (watching geometric shapes, evaluating words, et al., 1989), which are stimulus-related embodied simulations.
evaluating jokes). Third, both concurrent motor tasks were again Independent of post hoc judgmental correction processes such as implemented during the test phase exclusively; however, whereas discounting fluency (for a review, see Schwarz, 2002, 2004), we the manual task consisted again of slightly moving a ball in the left prevented fluency from tainting the fame judgments. In the second hand (n ϭ 15), a different oral motor task was implemented in the experiment, we extended this finding to another domain, namely experimental group (n ϭ 15). In this group, participants were asked to hold a cereal bar in their left hand and eat it while using a computer mouse with the right hand to judge the appearing reviews, see Bornstein, 1989; Oppenheimer, 2008; Schwarz, stimuli. Again, half of the stimuli were randomly chosen to be 2002). However, there are numerous other manipulations that alter presented during the study phase, and both old and new stimuli the processing fluency of targets, such as figure– ground contrast were shown in random order during the test phase. During the (e.g., Reber & Schwarz, 1999; Unkelbach, 2007) and subliminal study and test phases, names of shares appeared on some blocks, priming (Winkielman & Cacioppo, 2001). Regarding the embod- and brand names of drugs appeared on other blocks, with the ied representation of verbal stimuli, the fluency induction of the sequence of blocks randomized. The whole experimental session pronunciation of names (Song & Schwarz, 2009) seemed highly relevant and therefore important to address. Most recently, Songand Schwarz (2009) provided an impressive biasing effect of pronunciation, showing that ostensible food additives with hard- The 2 (exposure: old items, new items) ϫ 2 (concurrent motor to-read names were rated as more harmful than those with easy- task: manual, oral) ϫ 2 (stimulus type: share names, brand names to-read names. In this case, apparently, the fluency-triggered pos- of drugs) ANOVA on the trustworthiness judgments in the test itive affect was used to indicate (low) hazardousness. The present phase with motor task as a between-subjects factor obtained a main study should replicate and qualify this effect as being dependent on effect of exposure, F(1, 28) ϭ 4.74, p Ͻ .038, ␩2 ϭ .15, as well as an interaction between exposure and motor task, F(1, 28) ϭ6.26, p Ͻ .018, ␩2 ϭ .18, and no other effects (all Fs Ͻ 1). The conditional means for each stimulus type are displayed in Table 2.
Eighty (56 female) psychology undergraduate Collapsed over stimulus type, this interaction exhibited the fol- students participated for course credit.
lowing pattern. In the group executing the manual motor task, old Materials and procedure.
items were rated as being more trustworthy (M ϭ 3.38, SD ϭ 1.17) pronounce (e.g., Magnalroxate) and five hard-to-pronounce (e.g., than new items (M ϭ 3.01, SD ϭ 1.07), t(14) ϭ 3.12, p Ͻ .008, Hnegripitrom) names of ostensible food additives provided by d ϭ 0.34; in the group executing the oral motor task, no reliable Song and Schwarz (2009). Participants received these names in difference occurred between old items (M ϭ 3.06, SD ϭ 1.07) and random order on a computer screen and were asked to judge the new items (M ϭ 3.08, SD ϭ 1.11), t Ͻ 1.
hazard posed by these different food additives. They provided their Discussion
judgments on a Likert scale ranging from 1 (Very safe) to 7 (Veryharmful). Most crucially, half of the participants (n ϭ 40) were The present experiment addressed the biasing effects of fluency additionally asked to chew gum while judging the names, whereas on perceived trustworthiness of names of shares and brand names the other half (n ϭ 40) were asked to knead a soft foam ball in the and their embodied underlying processes (Alter & Oppenheimer, left hand while providing their judgments with the right hand. The 2006). Participants for whom the manual motor system was en- procedure was part of a battery of unrelated experiments and took gaged (i.e., unrelated to verbal stimuli) reported higher trustwor- thiness of old compared with new names. In contrast, in partici-pants for whom the oral motor system (which mediates sensorimotor simulations of verbal stimuli) was engaged, thisfluency effect did not occur. As in Experiment 1, we prevented Over the harm judgments we conducted a 2 (pronunciation: easy stimulus-specific sensorimotor simulations from occurring and to pronounce, hard to pronounce) ϫ 2 (concurrent motor task: thus prevented fluency effects without a need for judgmental manual, oral) ANOVA with motor task as a between-subjects correction. In the last experiment, we wanted to generalize the factor and found a main effect of pronunciation, F(1, 78) ϭ 12.07, present claims to yet another judgment and stimulus set, and, most p Ͻ .001, ␩2 ϭ .13, as well as an interaction between pronunci- importantly, to another fluency induction, namely pronunciation.
ation and motor task, F(1, 78) ϭ 8.78, p Ͻ .004, ␩2 ϭ .10. The conditional means are displayed in Table 3. Planned comparisons Experiment 3
revealed that in the group executing the manual motor task, easy-to-pronounce names were rated as less harmful than hard-to- Mouthfeel
pronounce names, t(39) ϭ 4.88, p Ͻ .001, d ϭ 0.87. However, in In the first two experiments we focused on the fluency induction the group executing the oral motor task, we found no such differ- of repeated exposure, which is a well-established manipulation (for ence between easy- and hard-to-pronounce names (t Ͻ 0.4).
Table 2Average Trustworthiness Ratings of Share Names and Drug Brand Names in Experiment 2 as aFunction of Concurrent Motor Task more general terms. Finally, we discuss other forms of fluency in Average Ratings of Harm of Ostensible Food Additives in the literature, such as visual fluency (Topolinski, in press).
Experiment 3 as a Function of Concurrent Motor Task Applied Issues: When Brokers Should Chew Gum and
Why Advertising Brand Names in Cinemas Is Futile
Our findings have strong implications for applied issues, espe- cially in the field of persuasion. We tried to ensure a certain degree of ecological validity both in our stimulus sets, which were au- thentic names that one can come across in the media, and in ouroral motor tasks, which were laboratory implementations of ev- eryday behavior such as eating popcorn. Thus, we deem thepresent results to contribute to our understanding of judgmentconstruction in the real world, specifically of repeated exposure in Discussion
advertising and persuasion (e.g., Allport & Lepkin, 1945; Using pronunciation rather than repeated exposure as a fluency Cacioppo & Petty, 1979; Fang et al., 2007; Hawkins & Hoch, induction, we replicated the finding by Song and Schwarz (2009) 1992; Skurnik et al., 2005; Weaver et al., 2007). Consider movie that food additives with easy-to-read names are judged as being trailers or movie credits that repeatedly feature actors’ names. The less harmful than additives with hard-to-read names. However, result of the present Experiment 1—namely that eating popcorn illustrating that this fluency effect is mediated by oral motor prevents increasing fame during repeated exposure, together with simulations, we also showed that this effect largely decreases earlier findings that such motor blockades prevent fluency effects under a concurrent oral motor task. As strong as the effect of when applied during the first or second encounter of a stimulus pronunciation may have been in the manual group, it was substan- (Topolinski & Strack, 2009c, Experiment 2)—suggests that re- tially attenuated in the oral group. Without participants’ engaging peated exposure of actors’ names may not lead to increased fame in correcting for fluency, we could again neutralize the biasing or even increased preference (cf. Topolinski & Strack, 2009c) effects of fluency on judgments of hazardousness.
among popcorn-eating cinema audiences. Similarly, the partici-pants who ate cereal bars in Experiment 2 resembled business General Discussion
people studying the stock market in the morning paper whilehaving breakfast. Also, they did not develop trust in repeatedly In the present microprocedural approach to the biasing effects of encountered brand names and thus were immune to the persuasive processing fluency on social– cognitive judgments we adopted an embodied view and identified the sources of fluency in stimulus- Blocking oral motor simulations may also yield beneficial ef- specific sensorimotor simulations (cf. Beilock & Holt, 2007; fects for other persuasive contexts in which fluency biases judg- Topolinski & Strack, 2009c; Van den Bergh et al., 1990). In the ments detrimentally. For example, Alter and Oppenheimer (2006) present case of simple verbal stimuli, which are most widely used showed that price developments of authentic shares in real-world in fluency research (Reber, Schwarz, & Winkielman, 2004; stock market data are influenced by motor fluency; those shares Schwarz, 2002), we identified covert oral motor simulations as with names that are easy to pronounce outperformed shares with being the source of fluency gains driving the biasing effects of hard-to-pronounce names during the first month on the market.
repeated exposure (e.g., Jacoby, Kelley, et al., 1989) and word This effect was still detectable at the end of the first year of pronunciation (Song & Schwarz, 2009) on the exemplary judg- performance. Although market behavior may also be substantially ments of fame (see Experiment 1), trustworthiness (see Experi- influenced by other factors, such as rational considerations, the ment 2), and hazardousness (see Experiment 3).
impact of fluency on stock choices is apparently not at all rational Once having located the exact juncture of fluency variations in (cf. Kahneman, 2003). As simple as it may sound, the present the stages of processing judgmental targets, we were able to block findings strongly suggest that both stockbrokers and clients could selected sources of fluency and thus prevent it from infiltrating the protect their consumer choices from these irrational biases by judgment. By this means, we were able to neutralize fluency simply chewing gum while making investment decisions. The effects without post hoc judgmental correction processes (Larrick, present approach also has, besides these applied implications, 2004; Oppenheimer, 2005; Schwarz et al., 1991; Strack, 1992; important implications for the more general realm of debiasing Strack & Hannover, 1996). With this approach we expand theo- (Larrick, 2004; Schwarz et al., 2007) or decontaminating (Wilson rizing in a long research tradition on judgmental correction pro- & Brekke, 1994) judgments, as is outlined in the following section.
cesses in social psychology (e.g., Cacioppo & Petty, 1979; Jacoby,Kelley, et al., 1989; Martin, Seta, & Crelia, 1990; Ross, Lepper, & A New Way of Judgment Decontamination
Hubbard, 1975; Ross, Lepper, Strack, & Steinmetz, 1977; Schwarzet al., 1991; Schwarz & Clore, 1983; Shaffer & Case, 1982; It has frequently been shown that associative processes can bias Weaver et al., 2007) by introducing a judgmental decontamination our judgments by generating experiential information that is easily procedure not yet considered (Wilson & Brekke, 1994).
available as a basis for judgment but provides no valid judgmental In the following, we first discuss urgent implications for applied cue (for an extensive review, see Wilson & Brekke, 1994). These issues and possible future research and then connect the present internal cues may be affect, such as moods (Schwarz & Clore, approach to the literature on judgmental correction processes in 1983; Zillman, Katcher, & Milavsky, 1972; see also Schwarz & Bohner, 1996), or concepts popping into the mind, for instance A final way to neutralize biasing effects is mood, because social categories (e.g., Higgins, Rholes, & Jones, 1977; for a people seem to be less susceptible to biasing heuristics under review, see Schwarz & Bless, 1992), but they may also be nonaf- negative compared with positive mood (e.g., Bless et al., 1996; for fective cognitive feelings, such as fluency (Clore et al., 2001; a review, see Clore, Schwarz, & Conway, 1994). However, besides Schwarz & Clore, 2007). In judgments under uncertainty (Kahne- the fact that this decontamination strategy requires an affect in- man, 2003), these proximal cues are readily used as the only duction, its effects are equivocal in the literature. For instance, available basis for judgment, which may have detrimental effects whereas Ruder and Bless (2003) found that negative compared on judgmental accuracy when they are influenced by factors that with positive mood decreased the reliance on retrieval fluency, are unrelated to the veridical judgmental criterion (e.g., Kahne- Freitas, Azizian, Travers, and Berry (2005) found that an experi- man, 2003; Wilson & Brekke, 1994).
mentally induced prevention focus (negative state) compared with In the literature, we find several ways to control for these promotion focus increases the preference for fluency.
biasing effects—ways that can be divided into pre- and postpro- Taken together, for all these decontamination strategies the cessing strategies. Preprocessing ways to achieve decontamination associative processes leading to judgmental biases remain exper- focus on the stimulus side and try to prevent biasing influences imentally impenetrable: For preprocessing strategies they are pre- from even being encoded, for instance via exposure control (Gil- vented by controlling the stimulus input, and for postprocessing bert, 1993; e.g., switching the channel when an advertisement is strategies they are corrected for by additional processing. As on, Wilson & Brekke, 1994), changing the presentation format of Strack (1992, p. 267) put it, “[N]either the accessibility of infor- stimuli in a way that prevents biasing associative processing (e.g., mation nor the particular experience can be undone.” Now we Gigerenzer & Hoffrage, 1995; Glo¨ckner & Betsch, 2008), gather- know they can be prevented. The present approach introduces the ing more ecological information about the to-be-judged criterion to possibility of a procedural decontamination, which consists of avoid sampling biases (e.g., Fiedler, 2000; Unkelbach & Plessner, blocking the associative processes themselves; it is a way to 2008), or preventing fluency gains by changing the stimulus for- achieve decontamination that requires neither changing the stim-ulus input nor correcting for an internal cue. This provides a new mat between the study and test phases (Westerman, Miller, & possibility of judgmental decontamination not yet proposed in the Lloyd, 2003). However, these strategies can hardly be used once literature (Wilson & Brekke, 1994) and may open various ap- one is confronted with a given target.
In contrast, postprocessing strategies to achieve decontamina- Admittedly, the metacognitive correction dilemma (Wilson & tion are strategies that take place after processing the to-be-judged Brekke, 1994), namely the appropriate situational knowledge of target as well as related information at a time when internal cues biases and how to correct for them, still cannot be solved by the emerge and solicit the judgment at hand. These strategies may present fluency blockade. Procedural decontamination does not include ignoring the internal cue (e.g., Wyer & Unverzagt, 1985), encompass the identification of biases and the selection of the most discounting it from the judgment by some means (Clore, 1992; effective decontamination strategy; rather, it is a decontamination Kelley & Rhodes, 2002; Schwarz, 2004), or actively correcting for strategy itself. Thus, to adaptively implement procedural decon- it (for reviews, see Holyoak & Gordon, 1983; Schwarz & Bless, tamination (see also a variety of possible examples in the follow- 1992; Tourangeau & Rasinski, 1988; Wilson & Brekke, 1994).
ing section) the particular bias and its embodied sources must be However, these judgmental correction processes are time consum- ing (e.g., Strack, Erber, & Wicklund, 1982) and need cognitivecapacity (e.g., Martin et al., 1990). Furthermore, they requireawareness of the bias and its direction and magnitude (e.g., Martin, Limitations and Further Research
1986; Strack et al., 1993; Wegener & Petty, 1995), the motivation The present approach is only the first step toward more exten- to correct it (Martin et al., 1990; Strack & Hannover, 1996), and sive research of procedural decontamination in further areas of the general ability to correct it (Wilson & Brekke, 1994; for fluency impacts and probably beyond. In the course of this future reviews, see Strack, 1992; Strack & Hannover, 1996; Wegener & research, the qualifying factor to derive predictions is not the Petty, 2001; Wilson & Brekke, 1994).
judgment asked for but rather the target to be judged and the Moreover, even if these conditions are met, judgmental correc- various systems processing it. Depending on which sensorimotor tion sometimes leads to judgments that are still biased, namely in systems are involved in processing a particular target, specific the case of overcorrection (Hatvany & Strack, 1980; Shaffer & ways of manipulating these systems shall be developed. The Case, 1982; Strack & Hannover, 1996), that is, when a judgment present manipulations focused on the oral motor system mediating is recomputed in the opposite direction of the internal cue but too the processing of verbal stimuli, because nearly all fluency effects heavily compensates for it, thus yielding a contrast effect (for in the literature employ this classical stimulus type. However, reviews, see Mussweiler, 2003; Schwarz & Bless, 1992; Strack & although the oral motor system is likely to mediate other fluency Hannover, 1996). Finally, with every subsequent judgment or effects as well, such as rhyme (McGlone & Tofighbakhsh, 2000) inference made with contaminated information, it becomes less or meshing of oral motor programs (Poldrack & Cohen, 1997), and less possible to identify the discredited information and correct other fluency phenomena will be mediated by different effector for it (Ross et al., 1975, 1977; see Forgas, 2001, for the case of systems, such as the manual motor system involved in the percep- affect infusion). These multiple constraints of postprocessing cor- tion of letters (e.g., Beilock & Holt, 2007; Van den Bergh et al., rection strategies prompted Wilson and Brekke (1994) to conclude, 1990) and graspable objects (e.g., Gibson, 1979; Tucker & Ellis, “[W]e are rather pessimistic about people’s ability to avoid or 1998) or the ocular muscle system involved in viewing moving correct for mental contamination” (p. 120).
Furthermore, the notion of target-specific motor systems being associative response (e.g., Blair, Ma, & Lenton, 2001; Dasgupta & the crucial source of fluency is obviously limited to attitude objects Greenwald, 2001; Wittenbrink, Judd, & Park, 2001)—ways to that elicit a motor response when processed. Although the range of procedurally block associative processes that lead to attitude bi- these objects is surprisingly broad, as converging evidence from diverse lines of research suggests (e.g., Bangert & Altenmu¨ller,2003; Craighero et al., 1996; Haueisen & Kno¨sche, 2001; Kato et Conclusion
al., 1999; Niedenthal, Winkielman, Mondillon, & Vermeulen,2009; Tucker & Ellis, 1998; Van den Bergh et al., 1990), there are The present approach introduces a procedural decontamination fluency effects grounded not in motor systems but in sensory of social– cognitive judgments by identifying and experimentally processes, most obviously in the classical domain of vision blocking the underlying embodied processes that lead to fluency (Zajonc, 1968) but also in haptics (Wippich, Mecklenbra¨uker, & Krisch, 1994). For these phenomena, specific procedural accountsand predictions shall be derived, and how to engage the responsi- References
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