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In What Ways Do Accessible Attitudes Ease Decision Making? Examining the Reproducibility of Accessibility Effects Across Cultural Contexts

Aaron Barnes Shavitt, S.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. November 1, 2023

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Making attitudes more accessible via rehearsal has been shown to ease decision-making by speeding the act of choosing and increasing the correspondence between one’s attitudes and choices (e.g., Fazio, 1995Fazio et al., 1992Fazio & Williams, 1986). These effects are central to decades of attitude research and are citation classics in social psychology. We report 25 studies (N = 6,162), conducted in a diverse and culturally inclusive set of samples and contexts, that shed light on the reproducibility of these seminal findings. We examined the effects of attitude accessibility on decision latency, on the self-reported readiness to make a decision, and on attitude–choice correspondence. Results showed that the effect of attitude accessibility on decision latency is highly reproducible across multiple methods and cultural contexts, and that the effect on attitude–choice correspondence also appears robust in choice contexts that parallel the original experiments but not in choice contexts that highlight the need to consider others’ preferences. Effects on self-reported readiness to decide did not emerge. No robust role for culture was observed in moderating these effects, though the limitations of the studies temper these conclusions. In sum, we build on prior research by showing which types of effects are likely to be reliably influenced by attitude accessibility.