Goal relevance moderates evaluative conditioning effects
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Number of pages
SourceLearning and Motivation, 43, 3, (2012), pp. 107-115
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI SCP
Learning and Motivation
SubjectBehaviour Change and Well-being
An important process by which preferences emerge is evaluative conditioning, defined as a change in the evaluation of a stimulus by pairing it repeatedly and consistently with an affective stimulus. The current research focuses on the role of motivation in this learning process. Specifically, it was investigated whether a conditioning procedure that is relevant to an individual's current goals is more effective than an irrelevant procedure. To this end, beverages were conditioned with either disgusted faces (relevant) or fearful faces (irrelevant). The results showed that thirsty(rather than non-thirsty) participants' choice and evaluation of beverages were influenced by pairing beverages with disgust but not with fear. As similar results were obtained under optimal and suboptimal presentation of the conditioned stimuli, it is suggested that goals can affect automatic, associative learning, adding to the emerging body of research demonstrating that goals unconsciously affect evaluative processes.
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