Evaluative conditioning (EC) effects refer to changes in the liking of a neutral (conditioned) stimulus (CS) due to pairing with an affective (unconditioned) stimulus (US). Some research found that EC effects are resistant to presentations of the CS without the US, whereas other studies found evidence for extinction effects. A recent study found extinction of EC only when participants rated the CS before and after the CS-only presentations, but not when CS evaluation was measured once or indirectly with the evaluative priming task. In two experiments (total N = 2,181), we found no evidence that indirectly measured evaluation is sensitive to extinction, using an indirect evaluation measure with high sensitivity–the Implicit Association Test. However, unlike previous research, we found that evaluation of any stimuli (and not only the CS) before the CS-only presentations decreases self-reported EC effects. Our results are compatible with the conclusion that the extinction of EC is limited to evaluation measured directly. We discuss the theoretical implications of these results, and conclude that the specific conditions (and mechanisms) that change the direct evaluative response are yet to be clarified.
- Evaluative conditioning
- evaluative judgement