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On the role of beliefs in observational flavor conditioning

On the role of beliefs in observational flavor conditioning
On the role of beliefs in observational flavor conditioning
In previous research (Baeyens, Vansteenwegen et al., 1996) we demonstrated that when observers consume a series of CS+ and CS?flavored drinks while simultaneously watching a videotaped model who synchronically drinks identical drinks and facially expresses his evaluation (dislike to CS+, neutral to CS?) of the liquids, the observers acquire a dislike for CS+ flavored relative to CS?flavored drinks. The aim of the present experiments was to test some predictions derived from a “direct conditioning” theory of such observational flavor learning. Using the same observational flavor conditioning procedure, we investigated (Exp. 1) the effect of manipulating the observers’ belief concerning the relationship between the drinks that they and the model were consuming (same/different/no information). Observational flavor conditioning was obtained when observers were led to believe that they were drinking the same drinks as the model did, and when they were not informed about this relationship, but not when told to be drinking different drinks. At the same time, however, the observers were not able to correctly identify the source of the model’s expression of dislike: They showed no CS-US contingency-awareness. Whereas the former finding suggests the causal involvement of conscious beliefs and cognitive inference processes in observational learning, the latter is more in line with the idea that the model’s facial expressions may act like a US’ which is automatically associated with the paired flavor CS+, without any involvement of conscious beliefs or cognitive inferences. These two crucial findings were replicated in Exp. 2. Also, we obtained evidence in this study that the belief manipulation affected learning through its influence on the observers’ attention for the model’s facial evaluative expressions. These results can be integrated either by a cognitive theory allowing the beliefs on which the inferences are based to be of an implicit nature, or by a “direct conditioning” theory that conceives of the US’ as an interpreted event, rather than as a mechanistically and invariantly acting physical entity.
1046-1310
183-203
Baeyens, Frank.
2ee7b9a4-966a-4c71-9fdb-3a2742a349e5
Eelen, Paul.
45b2d94e-71f5-4e28-a0ce-2fd775f53e2c
Crombez, Geert.
704e24df-10a6-4808-81ae-8ad87d8b8569
De Houwer, Jan.
38b6ce1b-80bf-4fa7-9a8a-0d57881f2795
Baeyens, Frank.
2ee7b9a4-966a-4c71-9fdb-3a2742a349e5
Eelen, Paul.
45b2d94e-71f5-4e28-a0ce-2fd775f53e2c
Crombez, Geert.
704e24df-10a6-4808-81ae-8ad87d8b8569
De Houwer, Jan.
38b6ce1b-80bf-4fa7-9a8a-0d57881f2795

Baeyens, Frank., Eelen, Paul., Crombez, Geert. and De Houwer, Jan. (2001) On the role of beliefs in observational flavor conditioning. Current Psychology, 20 (2), 183-203. (doi:10.1007/s12144-001-1026-z).

Record type: Article

Abstract

In previous research (Baeyens, Vansteenwegen et al., 1996) we demonstrated that when observers consume a series of CS+ and CS?flavored drinks while simultaneously watching a videotaped model who synchronically drinks identical drinks and facially expresses his evaluation (dislike to CS+, neutral to CS?) of the liquids, the observers acquire a dislike for CS+ flavored relative to CS?flavored drinks. The aim of the present experiments was to test some predictions derived from a “direct conditioning” theory of such observational flavor learning. Using the same observational flavor conditioning procedure, we investigated (Exp. 1) the effect of manipulating the observers’ belief concerning the relationship between the drinks that they and the model were consuming (same/different/no information). Observational flavor conditioning was obtained when observers were led to believe that they were drinking the same drinks as the model did, and when they were not informed about this relationship, but not when told to be drinking different drinks. At the same time, however, the observers were not able to correctly identify the source of the model’s expression of dislike: They showed no CS-US contingency-awareness. Whereas the former finding suggests the causal involvement of conscious beliefs and cognitive inference processes in observational learning, the latter is more in line with the idea that the model’s facial expressions may act like a US’ which is automatically associated with the paired flavor CS+, without any involvement of conscious beliefs or cognitive inferences. These two crucial findings were replicated in Exp. 2. Also, we obtained evidence in this study that the belief manipulation affected learning through its influence on the observers’ attention for the model’s facial evaluative expressions. These results can be integrated either by a cognitive theory allowing the beliefs on which the inferences are based to be of an implicit nature, or by a “direct conditioning” theory that conceives of the US’ as an interpreted event, rather than as a mechanistically and invariantly acting physical entity.

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Published date: June 2001

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 55506
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/55506
ISSN: 1046-1310
PURE UUID: 26f9d44a-4072-4a31-a770-c92549679191

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Date deposited: 31 Jul 2008
Last modified: 13 Mar 2019 20:36

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