When words hurt: The disruptive effects of verbally analyzing reasons

TitleWhen words hurt: The disruptive effects of verbally analyzing reasons
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1991
AuthorsSchooler J.W., Wilson T.W.
JournalProceedings of the Society for Consumer Psychology

Verbal overshadowing describes the phenomenon in which verbalisation negatively affects performance on a task related to the verbalised material. Within the verbal overshadowing literature, three accounts exist which attempt to explain this phenomenon: content, processing, and criterion accounts. The content account refers to the notion that the specific contents of verbalisation interfere with later performance, processing refers to a proposed shift in processing caused by verbalisation, and criterion deals with the possibility that verbalisation leads to a reliance on more conservative choosing. The current manuscript reviews evidence for the existing accounts, while describing advantages and disadvantages of each account and attempting to reconcile these various accounts. The authors provide a framework for understanding verbal overshadowing as caused by one unified mechanism, or several. Finally, an outline for future research is suggested that should aid in reconciling the existing accounts for verbal overshadowing.

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