Friday, November 1, 2013
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Where: Swift Hall, Room 414, 2029 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it
Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student
Group: Social Psychology Program
This week's speaker is Bertram Gawronski, Professor and Canada Research Chair at the University of Western Ontario (and soon to be Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas).
Contextualized Representation and Automatic Evaluation
Automatic evaluative responses play a central role in many areas of psychology. Previous research has produced conflicting findings, suggesting that automatic evaluations can be highly robust and difficult to change, highly flexible and easy to change, and highly context-dependent. The current talk presents a representational account that integrates these disparate findings by specifying (a) how evaluatively inconsistent information about a target object is encoded and integrated into mental representations and (b) how contextual cues modulate the activation of these representations upon future encounters with the target object. Drawing on the concepts of occasion setting and contextual renewal in animal learning, the account implies precise predictions about the conditions under which automatic evaluations reflect the valence of (a) initially acquired information, (b) subsequently acquired, counterattitudinal information, or (c) a mixture of both. The talk will present findings from a series of studies that tested these predictions and several hypotheses about the particular way in which contextual information is integrated into evaluative representations. Implications for various applications (e.g., treatment of dysfunctional or undesired automatic evaluative responses) will be discussed.