Conférence «Contextualized Representation and Automatic Evaluation»
Bertram Gawronski, Professor of Psychology, Canada Research Chair in Social Psychology, University of Western Ontario, le 22 mars 2013.
Automatic evaluative responses play a central role in many areas of psychology. Counter to views that such responses are relatively rigid and inflexible, a large body of research has shown that they are highly context-sensitive. One issue that is less well understood, however, is when and why automatic evaluations are context-dependent or context-independent. The current talk presents a representational account that specifies when and how context information is included in the evaluative representation of an object, thereby modulating automatic evaluative responses to that object. Drawing on the concepts of occasion setting and renewal in animal learning, the account implies precise predictions about the contextual conditions under which automatic evaluations reflect (a) initially acquired information; (b) subsequently acquired, counterattitudinal information; or (c) a mixture of both. The talk includes findings from a set of studies that tested these predictions and several hypotheses about the particular way in which contextual information is stored in memory. Implications for various applications (e.g., treatment of dysfunctional or undesired automatic evaluative responses) will be discussed.