THE BEHAVORIAL EFFECTS OF MERE EXPOSURE IN REPOSNSE TO AFFECTIVELY NEUTRAL AND NEGATIVELY VALENCED STIMULI
Past research within the mere-exposure paradigm has found that objects made familiar are preferred relative to novel, but otherwise evaluatively-equal, objects. However, little research has been conducted to explore how this phenomenon affects behavior. Additionally, few prior investigations have examined the effect of mere exposure on negatively-valenced stimuli. The current research investigated both of these issues. In this work, participants were asked to approach and avoid novel and familiar stimuli; some that humans perceive as neutral in valence, some that humans innately find negative or threatening (e.g., predatory animals), and some that humans have learned are negative or threatening (e.g., weapons). Results showed that approach behavior was facilitated by stimulus familiarity and that novel stimuli trended toward evoking avoidance behaviors. The type of stimulus did not moderate these effects. The theoretical implications of these findings are discussed.
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:mere exposure evolutionary psychology approach and avoidance stimulus valence
Date of Publication:01/01/2007