K.D. Hoffman has expertise in applying theoretical communication to real world endeavors. Her blog is Healthy Change Communications. This is a blog about health communications. Hoffman says, “It’s about using behavioral science to deeply understand specific audiences. With deep understanding, health communicators can engage and inspire change, whether in the individual or in society.”
A current series of blog posts addresses the idea of Targeting vs Tailoring communication. The second post is relevant to our discussion and offers some more introductory-level explanation of cognitive fluency.
“We process messages in two ways, via central or peripheral processing… When people have little interest in a message, they tend to process it peripherally. When processing peripherally, they don’t think about the arguments in the message but rather they use cues like attractiveness, reputation or credibility to guide their decision to perform a behavior….
Alternatively, central processing is energy consuming. It is only engaged in when a message is very important and relevant to the person and when the person has the intellectual or technical ability… Processing centrally requires careful listening and evaluation of message content… Central processing is more likely to lead to long-term and stable change.
One of the best ways to engage the central processing route is to make your message relevant to the audience. Tailoring achieves relevance.”
The full series of posts is available here, and there is more to come:
Expertise as Peripheral Processing
Now consider this older, alternate perspective from our new lens of cognitive fluency. It provides a hint of the transition to be made in our thinking about writing to make thinking easy for readers with different levels of contextual knowledge.
From Farnam Street blog, On expertness and intuition, An excerpt fromHerbert Simon:
“We have seen that a major component of expertise is the ability to recognize a very large number of specific relevant cues when they are present in any situation, and then to retrieve from memory information about what to do when those particular cues are noticed.
“Because of this knowledge and recognition capability, experts can respond to new situations very rapidly- and usually with considerable accuracy. Of course, on further thought, the initial reaction may not be the correct one, but it is correct in a substantial number of cases and is rarely irrelevant. We usually use the word “intuition” – sometimes also “judgment” or even “creativity” – to refer to this ability of experts to respond to situations in their domains of expertise almost instantaneously and relatively accurately. [these] skills have the same basis in knowledge and recognition capability.”