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Unintentional processing of motivational valence

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Recent motivational affective priming studies (Moors & De Houwer, 2001; Moors, De Houwer, & Eelen, 2004) showed that primes that indicate success on a goal-inducing task facilitate positive target responses whereas primes that indicate failure on that task facilitate negative target responses. In the current studies, we examined whether these priming effects depend on consciously intentional processing of the motivational valence of the primes. In Experiment 1, the outcome of success or failure was presented not only immediately before the target (i.e., the prime) but also a second time after the target response. This should encourage participants to ignore the prime. In Experiment 2, participants were asked to respond to the targets within 600 ms after target onset. As a result, participants had little opportunity to process the motivational prime valence in a consciously intentional way. Nevertheless, strong affective priming effects were found in both studies. These results provide additional support for the claim that motivational valence can be processed without the conscious intention to do so.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium 2: University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

Publication date: August 1, 2005


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