CHANGES IN PERCEPTION OF AND EMOTIONAL RESPONSE TO STIMULI AS A FUNCTION OF PAIRING WITH POSITIVE AFFECT
Technical rept. no. 22
VANDERBILT UNIV NASHVILLE TN
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This study was designed around McClellands description of the process of motive formation. Positive affect was aroused by 1 monetary reward, 2 relief from cold press, and 3 verbal reinforcement in a test of social perception. In each of these treatments the subject was brought into contact with some pictures of people during the arousal of positive affect. The general hypothesis was that these pictures would come to redintegrate the positive affect in the subject when he viewed them later. It was expected that this emotional response would affect the subjects behavior toward the pictures. The specific hypotheses were 1 the subject would spend more time looking at a treated picture than an untreated picture, 2 in the stereoscope the subject would have a greater tendency to see a treated picture as standing out over an untreated picture in binocular rivalry with it, and 3 the subject would rate his emotional reaction to the pictures as being more positive than the baseline set by pre-treatment ratings. The results were equivocal. The failure to obtain the predicted results was attributed to underestimating the requirements for associating attaching positive affect to previously neutral stimuli. The study defines some of the limits to the conditions for learning within the framework of affective-arousal theory.