Affect, Cognition, and Awareness: Affective Priming With Optimal and Suboptimal Stimulus Exposures

Annenberg School of Communication, University of Southern California, Los Angeles 90089-0281.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Impact Factor: 5.08). 06/1993; 64(5):723-39. DOI: 10.1037//0022-3514.64.5.723
Source: PubMed


The affective primacy hypothesis (R. B. Zajonc, 1980) asserts that positive and negative affective reactions can be evoked with minimal stimulus input and virtually no cognitive processing. The present work tested this hypothesis by comparing the effects of affective and cognitive priming under extremely brief (suboptimal) and longer (optimal) exposure durations. At suboptimal exposures only affective primes produced significant shifts in Ss' judgments of novel stimuli. These results suggest that when affect is elicited outside of conscious awareness, it is diffuse and nonspecific, and its origin and address are not accessible. Having minimal cognitive participation, such gross and nonspecific affective reactions can therefore be diffused or displaced onto unrelated stimuli. At optimal exposures this pattern of results was reversed such that only cognitive primes produced significant shifts in judgments. Together, these results support the affective primacy hypothesis.

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    • "If a creative medium is considered a positive experience, the experience of surprise could amplify those feelings (Hutter & Hoffmann, 2014). Through the process of affective priming (Murphy & Zajonc, 1993) positive feelings can spillover to the advertised brand or product. When it comes to behavioral responses, there is empirical evidence that surprise is one of the driving forces of diffusion in (electronic) word-of-mouth (Berger & Milkman, 2012; Derbaix & Vanhamme, 2003; Dobele, Lindgreen, Beverland, Vanhamme, & van Wijk, 2007). "

    Full-text · Chapter · Jan 2016
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    • "Therefore, we believe that the feeling of surprise in the context of creative media is positive. The process of affective priming (Murphy and Zajonc 1993) indicates that those feelings can spill over to the advertised brand or product. "

    Full-text · Chapter · Jan 2016
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    • "The second process involves transference: the respondent is then asked to rate a neutral image to which they would not be expected to have an affective reaction (in this case a Chinese ideogram, which have frequently been used in prior work, e.g. Murphy and Zajonc, 1993; Payne et al., 2005) as more or less pleasant than average. The idea is that the respondent will then transfer or project the affect engendered by the suboptimal racial prime onto the neutral image—not unlike the projection that occurs in Rorschach inkblot tests (Payne et al., 2005). "
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