I Like It, but I'm Not Sure Why: Can Evaluative Conditioning Occur without Conscious Awareness?

Consciousness and Cognition 9 (1):13-36 (2000)
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There is good evidence that, in general, autonomic conditioning in humans occurs only when subjects can verbalize the contingencies of conditioning. However, one form of conditioning, evaluative conditioning (EC), seems exceptional in that a growing body of evidence suggests that it can occur without conscious contingency awareness. As such, EC offers a unique insight into what role contingency awareness might play in associative learning. Despite this evidence, there are reasons to doubt that evaluative conditioning can occur without conscious awareness. This paper aims to critically review the EC literature and to draw some parallels to what is known about autonomic conditioning. In doing so, some important general issues about measuring contingency awareness are raised. These issues are illustrated with a brief report of an experiment in which a sensitive measure of contingency awareness is compared against a commonly used measure



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