Mental Rehearsal Increases Liking for Repeatedly Exposed Stimuli
Kirby, Teri Ann
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In 1968, Robert Zajonc proposed that mere repeated exposure--"a condition making the stimulus accessible to the individual's perception . . . is a sufficient condition for the enhancement of . . . attitude toward it" (p. 1). Influential reviews have concluded that minimal cognitive processing of repeated stimulus exposures, even so little as that involved in brief, visually masked ("subliminal") presentations, produces the most reliable attitude boosts. Wide acceptance of that view may explain why relatively few studies have examined effects of variations in cognitive activity during repeated exposure. The present six experiments assessed effects of repeated exposures that were accompanied by mental rehearsal. The experiments uniformly revealed greater gains in liking for repeated stimuli (including letters, pronounceable non-words, and abstract images) when mental rehearsal was involved than when rehearsal was not involved. These results are not accommodated by the most widely accepted theory (perceptual fluency plus misattribution) of repeated exposure effects.
- Psychology