Cognition and Emotion 32 (1):222-230 (2018)

After 30 years of research, the mechanisms underlying the evaluative priming effect are still a topic of debate. In this study, we tested whether the evaluative priming effect can result from associative relatedness rather than evaluative congruency. Stimuli that share the same evaluative connotation are more likely to show some degree of non-evaluative associative relatedness than stimuli that have a different evaluative connotation. Therefore, unless associative relatedness is explicitly controlled for, evaluative priming effects reported in earlier research may be driven by associative relatedness instead of evaluative relatedness. To address this possibility, we performed an evaluative priming study in which evaluative congruency and associative relatedness were manipulated independently from each other. The valent/neutral categorisation task was used to ensure evaluative stimulus processing in the absence of response priming effects. Results showed an effect of associative relatedness but no effect of evaluative congruency. Our findings highlight the importance of controlling for associative relatedness when testing for evaluative priming effects.
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DOI 10.1080/02699931.2017.1282855
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