Feeling more than we can know: Exposure effects without learning

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Abstract

It is generally assumed that some form of learning, such as recognition, both precedes and mediates the affective response. The present study questioned that assumption by seeking to obtain positive exposure effects in the absence of stimulus recognition. To unconfound affect and learning effects, 2 experiments with 48 undergraduate females employed a dichotic-listening procedure for stimulus exposure, in which the critical stimuli were exposed on the unattended channel. Reliable attitudinal enhancement toward objectively familiar stimuli was obtained in both experiments, even though recognition levels were low (Exp I) or at chance levels (Exp II). Subjective stimulus familiarity was not a significant predictor of affect in either experiment. It is concluded that positive feelings toward a previously encountered object are not dependent on consciously knowing or perceiving that the object is familiar. (36 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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