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Exploring the Contextual Renewal of Conditioned Attitudes After Counterconditioning

Published Online:https://doi.org/10.1521/soco.2020.38.4.287

Research on contextualized attitude change suggests that, even when coun-terattitudinal information effectively influences evaluations in the context in which this information was learned, previously formed attitudes sometimes continue to determine evaluations in any other context (contextual renewal). Expanding on evidence for contextual renewal in attitude change based on verbal information, five experiments tested the emergence of contextual renewal in evaluative conditioning, involving pairings of a conditioned stimulus with a valenced unconditioned stimulus. Counter to the notion of contextual renewal, counterconditioning changed initially conditioned attitudes to the same extent irrespective of the context. Verbal information presented with the same procedural parameters produced contextual renewal effects only when evaluations were not measured between the formation of initial attitudes and the learning of counterattitudinal information. The results suggest two previously unidentified boundary conditions of contextualized attitude change that need to be reconciled with extant theories of evaluative learning.

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