When congruence breeds preference: the influence of selective attention processes on evaluative conditioning

Cognition and Emotion 31 (6):1127-1139 (2017)

We investigated in two experiments whether selective attention processes modulate evaluative conditioning. Based on the fact that the typical stimuli in an EC paradigm involve an affect-laden unconditioned stimulus and a neutral conditioned stimulus, we started from the assumption that learning might depend in part upon selective attention to the US. Attention to the US was manipulated by including a variant of the Eriksen flanker task in the EC paradigm. Similarly to the original Flanker paradigm, we implemented a target-distracter logic by introducing the CS as the task-relevant stimulus to which the participants had to respond and the US as a task-irrelevant distracter. Experiment 1 showed that CS–US congruence modulated EC if the CS had to be selected against the US. Specifically, EC was more pronounced for congruent CS–US pairs as compared to incongruent CS–US pairs. Experiment 2 disentangled CS–US congruence and CS–US compatibility and suggested that it is indeed CS–US stimulus congruence rather than CS–US response compatibility that modulates EC.
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Reprint years 2017
DOI 10.1080/02699931.2016.1197100
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Emotion Drives Attention: Detecting the Snake in the Grass.Arne Öhman, Anders Flykt & Francisco Esteves - 2001 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 130 (3):466.
Toward an Instance Theory of Automatization.Gordon D. Logan - 1988 - Psychological Review 95 (4):492-527.

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