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The "name-ease" effect and its dual impact on importance judgments, Psychological Science


We demonstrate that merely naming a research finding elicits feelings of ease (a “name-ease” effect). These feelings of ease can reduce or enhance the finding’s perceived importance depending on whether people are making inferences about how understandable or how memorable the finding is. When people assess their understanding of a finding, feelings of ease reduce the finding’s perceived importance. This is because people usually invest effort to understand important information but also mistakenly infer the reverse namely, that information that requires effort to be understood is important. In contrast, when people assess the memorability of a finding, feelings of ease increase the finding’s perceived importance. Because people usually recall important information easily, in this case they equate ease with importance. Psychological effects, economic principles, math theorems, jury cases, and decisions to fund medical research can all show these effects.




Aparna Labroo, Soraya Lambotte, Yan Zhang

Date Published



Labroo, Aparna, Soraya Lambotte, and Yan Zhang. 2009. The "name-ease" effect and its dual impact on importance judgments. Psychological Science. 20(12): 1516-1522.


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