The Benefits of Cognitive Disfluency

Adam L. Alter


People prefer fluently processed stimuli but sometimes disfluency produces superior outcomes.


People process new information along a continuum, from very fluently (with great ease) to very disfluently (with great difficulty). Researchers have long recognized that people prefer fluently processed stimuli across a broad range of dimensions. A more recent stream of research suggests that disfluency sometimes produces superior outcomes. In this review, I suggest that disfluency prompts people to process information more carefully, deeply, and abstractly, and mitigates the social problems of overdisclosure and reflexive xenophobia. I conclude by raising several remaining questions that warrant empirical attention.


Current Directions in Psychological Science

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Cite This Paper

Alter, A. L. (2013). The Benefits of Cognitive Disfluency. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 22(6), 437–442.


The following papers were cited within this study.

Title Authors Year Cited by

The following papers were conducted after this paper's publication, and reference this exact study. They can be thought of as 'ensuing from' or 'being derived from' this study.

Title Authors Year Cited by