Essay about Implicit Attitude Formation Through Classical Conditioning

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PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE
Research Article
IMPLICIT ATTITUDE FORMATION THROUGH
CLASSICAL CONDITIONING
Michael A. Olson and Russell H. Fazio
Indiana University
Abstract-We sought to demonstrate that attitudes can develop through implicit covariation detection in a new classical conditioning paradigm. In two experiments purportedly about surveillance and vigilance. participants viewed several hundred randomly presented words and images interspersed with critical pairings ofvalenced unconditioned stimuli (USs) with novel conditioned stimuli (CSs). Attitudes toward the novel objects were influenced by the paired USs: In a surprise evaluation task. the CS paired with positive items was evaluated more positively than the CS paired with
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From the development of racial prejudice through repeated media portrayals of minority-group members in a negative fashion, to the creation of brand preferences via pairings of a target product with supennodels, the case might appear closed based on intuition alone. Yet, although early research seemed to support the contention that classical conditioning is a primary origin of attitudes (e.g., Razran, 1938; Staats & Staats. 1958). research on the classical conditioning of attitudes has since suffered a sporadic and troubled history.
Through the present research, we hoped to provide more solid evidence that attitudes can develop implicitly via classical conditioning.
First. we touch on some of the problems of past research. and mention some noteworthy attempts at solving them. The present research developed a new paradigm to help answer the question of whether attitudes can develop implicitly via classical conditioning.
Address correspondence to Michael A. Olson or Russell H. Fazio. Department of Psychology. 1885 Neil Ave .. Ohio State University. Columbus. OH
-B21 0-1222; e-mail; micolson@indiana.edu or fazio@psy.ohio-state.edu.
VOL. 12. NO.5. SEPTEMBER 2001
PRIOR RESEARCH ON THE CLASSICAL
CONDITIONING OF ATTITUDES
Razran (1938) read various political slogans to people while providing some of them with a free meal. and found that agreement with the slogans was greater when people received the free meal than when

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