It just felt right: The neural correlates of the fluency heuristic

Kirsten G. Volz, Lael J. Schooler, D. Yves von Cramon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Simple heuristics exploit basic human abilities, such as recognition memory, to make decisions based on sparse information. Based on the relative speed of recognizing two objects, the fluency heuristic infers that the one recognized more quickly has the higher value with respect to the criterion of interest. Behavioral data show that reliance on retrieval fluency enables quick inferences. Our goal with the present functional magnetic resonance imaging study was to isolate fluency-heuristic-based judgments to map the use of fluency onto specific brain areas that might give a better understanding of the heuristic's underlying processes. Activation within the claustrum for fluency heuristic decisions was found. Given that claustrum activation is thought to reflect the integration of perceptual and memory elements into a conscious gestalt, we suggest this activation correlates with the experience of fluency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)829-837
Number of pages9
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Claustrum
  • Decision making
  • FMRI
  • Fluency heuristic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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