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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1995 Oct;69(4):589-602.

Additivity of nonconscious affect: combined effects of priming and exposure.

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  • 1Annenberg School of Communication, University of Southern California, Los Angeles 90089-0281, USA.


Affect deriving from 2 independent sources--repeated exposure and affective priming--was induced, and the combined effects were examined. In each of 4 studies, participants were first shown 72 Chinese ideographs in which the frequency of exposure was varied (0, 1, or 3). In the second phase participants rated ideographs that were primed either positively, negatively, or not at all. The 4 studies were identical except that the exposure duration--suboptimal (4 ms) or optimal (1 s)--of both the initial exposure phase and the subsequent priming phase was orthogonally varied. Additivity of affect was obtained only when affective priming was suboptimal, suggesting that nonconscious affect is diffuse. Affect whose source was apparent was more constrained. Interestingly, increases in liking generated through repeated exposures did not differ as a function of exposure duration.

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