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Ease of retrieval effects in social judgment: the role of unrequested cognitions.

Authors
  • Tormala, Zakary L
  • Falces, Carlos
  • Briñol, Pablo
  • Petty, Richard E
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of personality and social psychology
Publication Date
Aug 01, 2007
Volume
93
Issue
2
Pages
143–157
Identifiers
PMID: 17645392
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The present research explores a new mechanism for ease of retrieval effects in social judgment. It is suggested that in the most common ease of retrieval paradigm, when it is difficult for people to generate or retrieve the specific type of cognition requested (e.g., positive thoughts about an issue or memories of assertive behavior), they are more likely to spontaneously generate or retrieve unrequested cognitions (e.g., negative thoughts about the issue or memories of unassertive behavior), and the presence of these unrequested cognitions can affect social judgment. In 4 experiments, participants were asked to generate a high (difficult) or low (easy) number of cognitions in a given direction. Across experiments, when participants were asked to generate a high number of cognitions, they also had more unrequested cognitions, and these unrequested cognitions played a mediating role in the ease of retrieval effect on judgment. In the 3rd and 4th experiments, this mechanism was found to be independent of previously identified mediators.

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