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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2004 Feb;86(2):345-55.

I like myself but I don't know why: enhancing implicit self-esteem by subliminal evaluative conditioning.

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  • University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands. a.j.dijksterhuis@uva.nl


On the basis of a conceptualization of implicit self-esteem as the implicit attitude toward the self, it was predicted that implicit self-esteem could be enhanced by subliminal evaluative conditioning. In 5 experiments, participants were repeatedly presented with trials in which the word I was paired with positive trait terms. Relative to control conditions, this procedure enhanced implicit self-esteem. The effects generalized across 3 measures of implicit self-esteem (Experiments 1-3). Furthermore, evaluative conditioning enhanced implicit self-esteem among people with low-temporal implicit self-esteem and among people with high-temporal implicit self-esteem (Experiment 4). In addition, it was shown that conditioning enhanced self-esteem to such an extent that it made participants insensitive to negative intelligence feedback (Experiments 5a and 5b). Various implications are discussed.

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