If you’ve ever wondered why Sarah Palin became an overnight sensation or why many people still base their votes on a single issue—abortion or gay rights, for example—I have two words for you: cognitive fluency.
That may sound like a put down. (It’s not.) Cognitive fluency is the rather hard to ponder name given to how easy it is to think about something.
In a nutshell: People like things that are easy to think about. And we’re less favorable to other things that are hard. So, simple makes sense. And, easy equals true.
There’s science to back this up, per this superb article by Drake Bennett in The Boston Globe. For instance, researchers have found that the stocks of companies with simple names outperform those with difficult ones.
People even find rhyming aphorisms (“woes unite foes”) to be “truer” than non-rhyming ones (“woes unite enemies”).
As the world becomes more complex, marketers can count on more people using this kind of shorthand. And, perhaps, as the Globe may have pointed out, that finally explains the whole Scott Brown thing. (But not anywhere near as hysterically as this “Saturday Night Live” skit.)