Author

Jay S. Prince

Publication Date

1982

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

First Advisor

Feldman, Solomon E.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Department

Department of Psychology

LCSH

Conditioned response||Perception

Abstract

In recent years, Zajonc and his colleagues have presented correlational and experimental evidence for the "mere exposure" effect, i.e., the enhancement of subjects' attitudes towards repeatedly exposed stimuli. Zajonc has maintained that stimulus recognition is a necessary condition for mediational processing, and since exposure affects have been demonstrated in the absence of stimulus recognition, mediational processes are not necessary for the exposure effect. The present study was an attempt to demonstrate the occurrence of mediational processes despite the absence of stimulus recognition; a finding which would question Zajonc's non-mediational explanation of the "mere exposure" phenomenon. Twenty-four subjects (11 males and 13 females) viewed irregular octagons (neutral stimuli) paired with either a positively or negatively evaluated word, exposed subliminally at varying frequencies (1, 8, and 15 exposures). Subjects later rated the previously exposed polygons on a 7-point like-dislike scale. It was hypothesized that, with repeated exposures, the novel stimuli would acquire the affective connotations of the postively or negatively charged word with which they were paired and that subjects' ratings would reflect this processing. In a second condition, the experimental procedures reported by Wilson and Zajonc (1980) were replicated. Twenty subjects (11 males and 9 females) viewed irregular octagons at subliminal exposure durations, and were then presented with pairs of "old" and "new" stimuli for affect and recognition judgements. As in the original study, it was expected that subjects would prefer "old" to "new" stimuli while maintaining chance level stimulus recognition rates. The results failed to replicate Wilson and Zajonc's (1980) findings as there was no evidence for any exposure effects. Furthermore, there was no significant interaction between word valence and exposure frequency in the "stimulus pairing" condition, i.e., subjects' affect ratings of the neutral stimuli did not appear to be influenced by the positive or negative words with which they were paired. It was concluded that evidence could not be presented for either exposure effects or mediational processing in the absence of stimulus recognition. Methodological considerations were discussed as well as possible directions for future research.

Comments

Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations.

Extent

vii, 58 pages

Language

eng

Publisher

Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type

Text

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