|||INSTRUCTING IMPLICIT PROCESSES: WHEN INSTRUCTIONS TO APPROACH OR AVOID INFLUENCE IMPLICIT BUT NOT EXPLICIT EVALUATION||Jan De Houwer||UGENT||2015 12||
Van Dessel, P., De Houwer, J., Gast, A., Smith, C. T., & De Schryver, M. (2016). Instructing implicit processes: When instructions to approach or avoid influence implicit but not explicit evaluation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 63, 1-9. Previous research has shown that linking approach or avoidance actions to novel stimuli through mere instructions causes changes in the implicit evaluation of these stimuli even when the actions are never performed. In two high-powered experiments (total N = 1147), we examined whether effects of approach-avoidance instructions on implicit evaluations are mediated by changes in explicit evaluations. Participants first received information about the evaluative properties of two fictitious social groups (e.g., Niffites are good; Luupites are bad) and then received instructions to approach one group and avoid the other group. We observed an effect of approach-avoidance instructions on implicit but not explicit evaluations of the groups, even when these instructions were incompatible with the previously obtained evaluative information. These results indicate that approach-avoidance instructions allow for unintentional changes in implicit evaluations. We discuss implications for current theories of implicit evaluation.