The University of Sussex

An appropriate control condition for evaluative conditioning

Andy P. Field

Research into the effects of pairing affectively non-valenced stimuli (CS) with affectively valenced stimuli (UCS) in a Pavlovian conditioning paradigm, has provided prima facie evidence of a new and distinct form of human conditioning. However, most of this research into what has been called 'Evaluative Conditioning (EC)', has been conducted without the use of appropriate control conditions to rule out non-associative accounts of the results. Traditional control methods used in the autonomic conditioning literature are argued to be inappropriate measures for EC due to differences between the paradigms. This begs the question: what is an appropriate control condition for EC? The problems surrounding the controls currently employed in EC research are discussed and a new type of control condition is proposed which is specifically designed to overcome these problems.


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