Today’s thought nugget comes from WIRED contributor Dave Mosher and his article Easily Pronounced Names May Make People More Likable. How much more likable? You’ll have to read the article, but what caught my eye was this line:

Fluency, the idea that the brain favors information that’s easy to use, dates back to the 1960s, when researchers found that people most liked images of Chinese characters if they’d seen them many times before.

It seems obvious to me that the brain would favor easy-to-use information, but I didn’t know that there was a whole field of research around it. After a bit of digging I found a Wikipedia article on Processing Fluency. It’s an interesting bridge between marketing and science, and it looks like a fruitful area for further exploration. Noted to self!

1 Comment

  1. Alison 11 years ago

    I think that, while it is true that the brain might better process the familiar or the simple in the short term, it is not necessarily what we like in the long term. For instance, jokes that require the listener to “take the next step” – that don’t explain why they are funny – are much funnier than jokes that explain themselves. I hate it when people “explain” my carefully thought-out facebook updates, which people like (I think) because I let them make the joke themselves. An example: my 10th grade son came home from a school trip with a bright pink feather boa in his suitcase – I posted a picture of the suitcase opened on facebook – I didn’t say “Look what was in his suitcase” or something like that, I carefully said “Next time, I’ll ask before I open his suitcase”. I think that subconsciously, people appreciate the acknowledgment that you’re not dumbing down the message – in fact, you are expecting them to “get it” themselves.