DOI: 10.1177/19485506241235702 ISSN: 1948-5506

Choosing What You Like or Liking What You Chose? Sampling’s Impact on Evaluation and the Role of Idiosyncratic Reactions to Valent Stimuli

Zachary Adolph Niese, Mandy Hütter
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Psychology

Recent work incorporating autonomy into an evaluative conditioning procedure provided evidence of a sampling decision effect in which high-autonomy participants positively shifted their evaluations of frequently sampled conditioned stimuli (CSs), regardless of whether they were consistently paired with positive or negative unconditioned stimuli (USs). The current work modified this paradigm by also measuring participants’ evaluations of the sampled USs. Two experiments replicate the sampling decision effect for neutral CSs in a new variant of the paradigm while ruling out the alternative possibility that the effect is driven by idiosyncratic variance in participants’ reactions to the USs. In addition, Experiment 2 suggests that the sampling decision effect does not extend to the paired, valent stimuli. Together, these results further suggest that it is the act of sampling a stimulus more frequently that predicts a positive evaluative shift toward it.

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