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Psychol Res. 2014 Jan;78(1):141-9. doi: 10.1007/s00426-013-0487-7. Epub 2013 Feb 15.

Intuitive (in)coherence judgments are guided by processing fluency, mood and affect.

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Department of Psychology, Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities, 19/31 Chodakowska St, 03-815, Warsaw, Poland,


Recently proposed accounts of intuitive judgments of semantic coherence assume that processing fluency results in a positive affective response leading to successful assessment of semantic coherence. The present paper investigates whether processing fluency may indicate semantic incoherence as well. In two studies, we employ a new paradigm in which participants have to detect an incoherent item among semantically coherent words. In Study 1, we show participants accurately indicating an incoherent item despite not being able to provide an accurate solution to coherent words. Further, this effect is modified by affective valence of solution words that are not retrieved from memory. Study 2 replicates those results and extend them by showing that mood moderates incoherence judgments independently of affective valence of solutions. The results support processing fluency account of intuitive semantic coherence judgments and show that it is not fluency per se but fluency variations that drive judgments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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