The mere exposure effect: An uncertainty reduction explanation revisited

Angela Y. Lee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

161 Scopus citations


A misattribution explanation for the mere exposure effect posits that individuals misattribute perceptual fluency to liking when they are not aware that the fluency comes from prior exposure. The uncertainty reduction explanation posits that individuals prefer stimuli that are familiar and is consistent with findings that stimuli judged old were preferred to those judged new. The present research provides evidence to support an uncertainty reduction account of the mere exposure effect. The results of Experiment 1 show that three different operationalizations of uncertainty reduction - prior exposure, subjective familiarity, and confidence - all led to enhanced affect. The results in Experiment 2 show that participants corrected their cognitive responses but not their affective responses at higher levels of exposure frequency, suggesting that misattribution may be accountable for exposure effects in cognitive judgments but not in affective judgments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1255-1266
Number of pages12
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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