Reconciling fluency theory and Berlyne’s inverted U curve. An experimental study into the effects of visual metaphors in advertising on processing fluency and aesthetic pleasure under varying exposure times.

Renske van Enschot, C.M.J. van Hooijdonk

Research output: Contribution to ConferenceAbstractAcademic

Abstract

Pleasurable feelings can be induced by either simple stimuli (cf. Reber et al.’s (2004) fluency theory; Schwarz, 2018) or more challenging stimuli (cf. Berlyne’s inverted U curve, 1960, 1971; Giora et al., 2004, 2017; Hekkert et al., 2003). This contradiction may be reconciled by the dual-process theories (Greifeneder & Schwarz, 2014) which distinguish an intuitive, fluency-based response to simple stimuli from a more analytic response to challenging stimuli. Exposure time may work as a pivot between these two mechanisms (Jakesch et al., 2013; Schwarz, 2018): a short exposure time triggering an automatic processing mechanism and a longer exposure time triggering a controlled processing mechanism. We tested this assumption in an advertising context in experiments using short versus long exposure times (100ms, 5000ms; between-subjects) and visual metaphors with rising complexity levels and different degrees of creativity (Phillips & McQuarrie, 2004) (within-subjects). One visual metaphor type in our first experiments turned out to be perceived as less creative than expected, disabling a proper test of our assumption. In our most recent experiment (n=164), we therefore included more types of creative visual metaphors which did allow us to pit fluency theory against Berlyne’s inverted U curve. Our DVs were aesthetic pleasure, felt fluency, and actual comprehension. #analytic approach At 100ms, the differences between the metaphor types were minimal, showing no clear indication of an automatic mechanism that would yield a preference for the fluently processed metaphors. At 5000ms, aesthetic pleasure was highest for the visual metaphors that were innovative and felt as fluent. Visual metaphors that were less innovative or felt as less fluent were enjoyed less. The fluency theory and Berlyne’s inverted U curve seem to be no rivals but rather team players. Even with ample time, people enjoy those visual metaphors that are innovative and felt as fluent to process at the same time.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2018
EventInternational Association of Empirical Aesthetics Congress: Conflict, Arousal, and Curiosity: Berlyne and Beyond - Toronto, Canada
Duration: 30 Aug 20182 Sep 2018

Conference

ConferenceInternational Association of Empirical Aesthetics Congress
Abbreviated titleIAEA
CountryCanada
CityToronto
Period30/08/182/09/18

Keywords

  • Visual metaphors
  • aesthetics

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