It felt fluent but I did not like it – Fluency effects in faces versus patterns

Authors/others:Gerger, Gernot; Forster, Michael; Leder, Helmut
Abstract:Whether you like a person or not is often appraised in a glance. However, under such short presentation durations stimuli are harder to perceive and, according to hedonic fluency theory-which holds that higher fluency is linked to higher liking-thus, are liked less. Given that liking considerably influences person perception, we tested how shorter and longer presentation durations affect liking for faces and compared this with abstract patterns. To capture facets of fluency of processing we assessed felt fluency, liking, and certainty ratings. Following predictions of fluency theory, longer presentation durations led to higher felt fluency, certainty, and positively affected liking judgments in the abstract patterns. In faces, felt fluency and certainty also increased with longer durations. However, with longer durations, faces were liked less, and liking was not related to felt fluency. In other words, in contrast to hedonic fluency theory, faces are more attractive when only seen for a short amount of time. Thus, fluency does not inevitably lead to more positive evaluations-it rather depends on the stimulus category. We discuss these findings in terms of the special status that faces have with regard to human perception and evaluation.
Date of publication:4.2017
Journal title:Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Peer reviewed:true
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Publication Type:Article