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Mem Cognit. 2016 Oct;44(7):1114-26. doi: 10.3758/s13421-016-0622-y.

The limited use of the fluency heuristic: Converging evidence across different procedures.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, School of Social Sciences, University of Mannheim, Schloss Ehrenhof Ost, D-68131, Mannheim, Germany. pohl@psychologie.uni-mannheim.de.
2
Department of Psychology, School of Social Sciences, University of Mannheim, Schloss Ehrenhof Ost, D-68131, Mannheim, Germany.
3
Institute for Experimental Psychology, Heinrich-Heine-University, Düsseldorf, Germany.
4
Cognitive Psychology, University of Koblenz-Landau, Koblenz, Germany.

Abstract

In paired comparisons based on which of two objects has the larger criterion value, decision makers could use the subjectively experienced difference in retrieval fluency of the objects as a cue. According to the fluency heuristic (FH) theory, decision makers use fluency-as indexed by recognition speed-as the only cue for pairs of recognized objects, and infer that the object retrieved more speedily has the larger criterion value (ignoring all other cues and information). Model-based analyses, however, have previously revealed that only a small portion of such inferences are indeed based on fluency alone. In the majority of cases, other information enters the decision process. However, due to the specific experimental procedures, the estimates of FH use are potentially biased: Some procedures may have led to an overestimated and others to an underestimated, or even to actually reduced, FH use. In the present article, we discuss and test the impacts of such procedural variations by reanalyzing 21 data sets. The results show noteworthy consistency across the procedural variations revealing low FH use. We discuss potential explanations and implications of this finding.

KEYWORDS:

Decision making; Fluency; Judgment; Retrieval cues

PMID:
27383467
DOI:
10.3758/s13421-016-0622-y
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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