- Easy moves: Perceptual fluency facilitates approach-related action
- Volume | Issue number
- 16 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
It is well established that processing fluency impacts preference judgments and physiological reactions indicative of affect. Yet, little is known about how fluency influences motivation-related action. Here, we offer a novel demonstration that fluency facilitates action-tendencies related to approach. Four experiments investigated this action effect, its boundary conditions, and concomitant affective responses. Experiment 1 found faster approach movements (reaction times [RTs] to initiate arm flexion) to perceptually fluent stimuli when participants acted to rapidly classify stimuli as either “good” or “bad.” Experiment 2 eliminated this fluency effect on action when participants performed nonaffective classifications (“living” or “nonliving”), even though fluency robustly enhanced liking judgments. Experiment 3 demonstrated that fluency can also facilitate approach action that is not immediate, as long as the delayed action involves affective classification. This experiment also found that fluent stimuli elicit genuine hedonic responses, as reflected in facial electromyography (fEMG) activity over zygomaticus “smiling” muscle. Experiment 4 replicated the physiological (fEMG) evidence for hedonic responses to fluent stimuli, but similar to Experiment 2, we observed no fluency effects on actions involving nonaffective classification. The current studies offer the first evidence that perceptual fluency can facilitate approach-related movements, when such movements are embedded in the context of affective decisions. Generally, these results suggest that variations in processing dynamics can flexibly and implicitly shape action-tendencies.
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