The malleable meaning of subjective ease.


People can generate the same thoughts or process the same information with different degrees of ease, and this subjective experience has implications for attitudes and social judgment. In prior research, it has generally been assumed that the experience of ease or fluency is interpreted by people as something good. In the two experiments reported here, the meaning or value of ease was directly manipulated, and the implications for evaluative judgments were explored. Across experiments, we replicated the traditional ease-of-retrieval effect (more thought-congruent attitudes when thoughts were easy rather than difficult to generate) when ease was described as positive, but we reversed this effect when ease was described as negative. These findings suggest that it is important to consider both the content of metacognition (e.g., "those thoughts were easy to generate") and the value associated with that content (e.g., "ease is good" or "ease is bad").

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@article{Briol2006TheMM, title={The malleable meaning of subjective ease.}, author={Pablo Bri{\~n}ol and Richard E . Petty and Zakary L. Tormala}, journal={Psychological science}, year={2006}, volume={17 3}, pages={200-6} }