The secret life of fluency

Trends Cogn Sci. 2008 Jun;12(6):237-41. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2008.02.014. Epub 2008 May 28.


Fluency - the subjective experience of ease or difficulty associated with completing a mental task - has been shown to be an influential cue in a wide array of judgments. Recently researchers have begun to look at how fluency impacts judgment through more subtle and indirect routes. Fluency impacts whether information is represented in working memory and what aspects of that information are attended to. Additionally, fluency has an impact in strategy selection; depending on how fluent information is, people engage in qualitatively different cognitive operations. This suggests that the role of fluency is more nuanced than previously believed and that understanding fluency could be of critical importance to understanding cognition more generally.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / physiology
  • Choice Behavior / physiology
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Cues
  • Humans
  • Judgment / physiology*
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Models, Psychological
  • Perception / physiology*
  • Thinking / physiology