The mere exposure effect is differentially sensitive to different judgment tasks

Consciousness and Cognition 7 (1):85-102 (1998)
Abstract
The mere exposure effect is the increase in positive affect that results from the repeated exposure to previously novel stimuli. We sought to determine if judgments other than affective preference could reliably produce a mere exposure effect for two-dimensional random shapes. In two experiments, we found that brighter and darker judgments did not differentiate target from distracter shapes, liking judgments led to target selection greater than chance, and disliking judgments led to distracter selection greater than chance. These results for brighter, darker, and liking judgments were obtained regardless of whether shape recognition was greater (Experiment 1) or not greater (Experiment 2) than chance. Effects of prior exposure to novel shapes were reliably observed only for affective judgment tasks. These results are inconsistent with general predictions made by the nonspecific activation hypothesis, but not the affective primacy or perceptual fluency hypotheses which were discussed in terms of cognitive neuroscience research.
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