The assimilative effect of co-occurrence on evaluation above and beyond the effect of relational qualifiers Academic Article uri icon


  • Evaluative conditioning research has investigated the effect of mere stimuli co-occurrence on evaluation and found an assimilative effect—a novel stimulus acquires the valence of the co-occurring stimulus. However, most learning episodes include stimulus co-occurrence with additional relational information. For instance, viewers learn that Batman co-occurs with crime and that he fights crime. Does co-occurrence with crime increase negativity toward Batman parallel to an increase of positivity because Batman fights crime? We examined whether co-occurrence influences evaluation above and beyond the effect of relational qualifiers. We review initial supporting evidence and report five novel experiments (total N = 505) that suggest that co-occurrence with affective stimuli has an assimilative effect on evaluation even when explicit relational information suggests the opposite valence. We suggest further empirical directions for studying the effects of co-occurrence versus other relational information on evalu...

publication date

  • January 1, 2016