How lacking control drives fluency effects in evaluative judgment

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Everyday life is replete with situations that can undermine the perception of personal control. In the current research, the author demonstrates that these experiences can have a pronounced impact on judgment and decision making by increasing evaluative preferences for fluent stimuli. The author argues this occurs because fluent stimuli promote a sense of structure that helps compensate for low control. Consistent with a compensatory process, the data further show that this effect is attenuated when alternative compensatory control strategies are readily available. Six studies document this effect and its implications for how individuals evaluate an organization's offerings, brand name, tagline, and stock—including two studies examining fluency effects in stock market valuations. Taken together, these findings provide convergent evidence in support of the author's theorizing that fluent stimuli represent a novel means by which individuals attempt to compensate for low control.




Blair, S. (2020). How lacking control drives fluency effects in evaluative judgment. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 156, 97–112.

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