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Ease-of-learning judgments are based on both processing fluency and beliefs

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Processing fluency influences many types of judgments. Some metacognitive research suggests that the influence of processing fluency may be mediated by participants’ beliefs. The current study explores the influence of processing fluency and beliefs on ease-of-learning (EOL) judgments. In two experiments (Exp 1: n = 94; Exp 2: n = 146), participants made EOL judgments on 24 six-letter concrete nouns, presented in either a constant condition (high fluency) with upper-case letters (e.g., BUCKET) or an alternating condition (low fluency) with mixed upper- and lower-case letters (e.g., bUcKeT). After judging words individually, participants studied the words and completed a free recall test. Finally, participants indicated what condition they believed made the words more likely to be learned. Results show constant-condition words were judged as more likely to be learned than alternating condition words, but the difference varied with beliefs. Specifically, the difference was biggest when participants believed the constant condition made words more likely to be learned, followed by believing there was no difference, and then believing the alternating condition made words more likely to be learned. Thus, we showed that processing fluency has a direct effect on EOL judgments, but the effect is moderated by beliefs.
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Keywords: Ease-of-learning judgments; beliefs; cue utilisation; metacognition; monitoring; processing fluency

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden 2: Department of Psychology, Florida International University, Miami, FL, USA

Publication date: July 3, 2018

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