Dissociating the effects of attention and contingency awareness on evaluative conditioning effects in the visual paradigm

Cognition and Emotion 19 (2):217-243 (2005)
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Abstract

Two experiments are described that investigate the effects of attention in moderating evaluative conditioning (EC) effects in a picture‐picture paradigm in which previously discovered experimental artifacts (e.g., Field & Davey, 1999 Field, AP, and Davey, GCL, (1999). Reevaluating evaluative conditioning: A nonassociative explanation of conditioning effects in the visual evaluative conditioning paradigm, Journal of Experimental Psychology. Animal Behavior Processes 25 ((1999)), pp. 211–224.[Crossref], [PubMed], [Web of Science ®], [Google Scholar]) were overcome by counterbalancing conditioned stimuli (CSs) and unconditioned stimuli (USs) across participants. Conditioned responses for individuals who had attention enhanced were compared against a control group and groups for whom attention was impeded using a distracter task. In a second experiment the effects of attention were dissociated from those of contingency awareness by using backward‐masked US presentations. The results of these experiments indicate that although associative EC effects may not be disrupted by a lack of contingency awareness, attention is an important factor in establishing conditioning. These results shed some light onto the possible boundary conditions that could explain past inconsistencies in obtaining EC effects in the visual paradigm.

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