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Behav Res Ther. 1994 Mar;32(3):301-5; discussion 307-10.

The evaluative response: primitive but necessary.

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Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, Denmark Hill, London, England.


We do not believe the claim that "evaluative conditioning is a qualitatively distinct form of classical conditioning" [Davey (1994). Behaviour Research and Therapy, 32, 291-299]. We view all classical conditioning as a learning process which leads organisms to assign a positive or negative value to previously neutral stimuli and to respond to them accordingly. The evaluative response is a necessary component of this process and hence it is central to all classical conditioning, not a separate type. Davey concentrates on a signal-based information processing view of learning, i.e. the formation of linear associations between CS and UCS of which human subjects are aware and which they can verbalize. We propose a more primitive and more general model in which stimulus evaluation (like/dislike) occurs with a minimal degree of processing, and enters into a representation of stimulus (CS and UCS) and response (CR and UCR) characteristics which is reintegrative rather than associative.

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