Wednesday, February 18, 2009

If it is difficult to pronounce, it must be risky.

Song and Schwartz make the observation that low processing fluency (as with names that are difficult to pronounce) fosters the impression that a stimulus is unfamiliar, which in turn results in perceptions of higher risk. Ostensible food additives were rated as more harmful when their names were difficult to pronounce than when their names were easy to pronounce, and amusement-park rides were rated as more likely to make one sick (an undesirable risk) and also as more exciting and adventurous (a desirable risk) when their names were difficult to pronounce than when their names were easy to pronounce.

2 comments:

Susan Weinschenk said...

Do you think this applies in broader areas? prescription meds that are harder to pronounce would be seen as dangerous? or stronger and therefore better? Consulting services with weird names or acronyms wouldn't be any good?

Deric said...

I suspect this carries over to examples like the ones you give, but it would be nice to have more data showing it.

Post a Comment