Automatic Stimulus Evaluation Depends on Goal Relevance

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Abstract

To examine whether automatic stimulus evaluation is dependent upon goal relevance, participants were presented with a mixture of (a) goal-induction trials to create a set of goal-relevant and goal-irrelevant stimuli, and (b) evaluative priming trials to capture the automatic evaluation of these stimuli as good or bad. In line with our predictions, a reliable evaluative priming effect was obtained only for stimuli that were relevant for the goal-induction task. Implications for the use of the evaluative priming paradigm as an assessment tool and the replicability of the evaluative priming effect in the absence of dimensional overlap between the prime set and the target set are discussed.

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