Dr. Sascha Topolinski

Associated member: January 2007 - July 2009

Dissertation title: The role of affects and cognitive feelings in intuitive judgments.
Abstract: In semantic coherence judgments individuals are able to intuitively discriminate whether a word triad has a common remote associate (coherent) or not (incoherent) without retrieving the common associate. A processing-fluency account for these intuitions is proposed. It is assumed that a) coherent triads are processed more fluently than incoherent triads, b) this high fluency triggers a subtle positive affect, and c) this affect may be experienced as a cognitive feeling and used in any explicit judgment. Testing these stages, it was shown in 3 experiments that coherent triads a) are processed faster than incoherent triads, b) serve as positive affective primes, and c) are liked more than incoherent triads.
In Experiment 4 it was shown that the fluency-triggered affect is the internal cue used in coherence judgments: Provided with an irrelevant source of their affective reactions, participants lost the ability to intuitively discriminate between coherent and incoherent triads.

Principal investigator:

Prof. Dr. Fritz Strack
Dept. Psychology II, Röntgenring 2, 97070 Würzburg

Prof. Dr. Fritz Strack


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Current position:

Opens external link in new windowSocial Cognition Center Cologne
Faculty of Arts and Humanity
University of Cologne