Fluency and Feeling of Rightness: The Effect of Anchoring and Models


  • Selina Wang University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon
  • Valerie Thompson University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon


feeling of rightness, fluency, meta-reasoning, syllogistic reasoning, anchoring, mental models


Feeling of Rightness (FOR) is a metacognitive experience accompanying people's intuitive answers that predicts the probability of subsequently changing answers (Thompson, Prowse Turner, & Pennycook, 2011). Previous research suggested FOR judgments are influenced by cues such as fluency, i.e., the ease with which an answer comes to mind. In the current paper, we examine the relationship between FOR, fluency, and answer changes; in particular, we were interested in whether answer fluency drives the effect of FOR on subsequent behaviours pertaining to answer changes. Reasoners (N = 64) in each of four experiments were asked to determine the validity of 32 syllogisms that consisted of single-model and multiple-model problems. In addition, each problem was randomly paired with a question containing either a high anchor value (80% or 90%) or a low anchor value (10% or 20%). In the first two experiments, reasoners then provided a FOR rating on a scale from 0 to 100 and indicated whether they would like to attempt to re-answer the question. The last two experiments served as the control experiments in which the FOR judgements were removed. The anchoring manipulation affected FOR judgments but not re-answer choices; it also did not affect answer fluency. Thus influencing FOR without affecting answer fluency had no effect on people's subsequent re-answer choices. In contrast, fluency was a reliable predictor of both FOR and reanswer choices. That is, when answers came to mind slowly, FORs were lower and people were more likely to choose to re-answer the problems. Thus, fluency appears to mediate the relationship between FOR and re-answer choices.