Validity Effect

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Description of Validity Effect. Explanation.


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Validity Effect

Definition Validity Effect. Description.

The Validity Effect is the increase in perceived validity when a statement is repeated. By repeatedly exposing people to a given stimulus, their neutral feeling regarding it will eventually give way to increased likeability. In other words, the more someone is exposed to something, the more they will like or accept it.

The effect is also referred to as Repetition-Validity Effect or Mere Exposure Effect.


The repetition-validity effect works best when the stimulus is short. Brief, subtle exposures--an image, a slogan, a sound-bite--work best. Almost subliminal exposure--where conscious attention is not given--enhances the effect. Separating the occurrences of the stimulus by a delay also enhances the effect.

Origin of Validity Effect. History

The Validity Effect concept has been initially developed by Hal Richard Arkes, Emeritus Professor at Ohio State University, Faculty of Psychology. Although the term can also be attributed to the work of Carole Wade and Carol Tavris, who discussed in their 1993 book “Psychology” the findings of professor Arkes. Using a set of 3 experiments the latter demonstrated that people tend to believe a statement is valid or true, just because they have been exposed to it frequently.

The Power of the Validity Effect

In Arkes' opinion this can be considered one of the most powerful Persuasion Techniques and at the same time the simplest. Compare with Persuasion Theory. No other techniques are needed to convince someone that a statement is true: just by hearing it many times most of people will find it acceptable. Arkes’ experiment results suggested that familiarity of a statement is the most influential factor in judging validity.

Further Validity Effect Sources

The experiments have been presented and discussed in “Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 20, No. 3, 285-293 (1994)”. Another relevant empirical article that explains the relationships between familiarity and judged validity is the more recent “The generality of the relation between familiarity and judged validity” by Hal R. Arkes, Catherine Hackett and Larry Boehm published on the 2006 Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, Vol 2 Issue 2.

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Compare with: Congruity Theory  |  Consistency Theories  |  Balance Theory

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