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Title: How attention influences the emotional evaluation of complex objects
Author: Westoby, Nikki
ISNI:       0000 0001 3566 2440
Awarding Body: University of Wales, Bangor
Current Institution: Bangor University
Date of Award: 2008
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Humans are not always privy to the mechanisms that drive their decisions, choices, or preferences. In situations where ability or motivation to evaluate an object is lacking, heuristics can be applied to the situation allowing past experience to influence current decision-making. The objective of this thesis was to explore whether the distractor devaluation effect (Raymond et al., 2003) might be one such heuristic. In a series of nine experiments I demonstrated that inhibiting an object could have detrimental effects on the emotional evaluation of another, similar, object. In Experiments 3,6 and 81 replicated the distractor devaluation at the individual (inhibited object) level. In Experiment 41 found evidence that distractor devaluation could generalise to objects of same basic-level category as the inhibited item. In Experiments 7 and 81 used in- and out-group faces to show that members of a subordinate category can also be devalued. In Experiment 91 used branded products and demonstrated that distractor devaluation can generalise within superordinate categories of objects. To account for these findings, and in line with the 'devaluation-by-inhibition' hypothesis, I propose that in cases where the initial to-be-inhibited object is not successfully individuated, an inhibitory tag can be associated instead with a whole category representation. This inhibitory tag can be subsequently used to guide the evaluation of a previously unseen member of that category (the generalisation effect). I also propose that the situational demands at the time of inhibition determine the extent of this generalisation process.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available