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A model of generalised evaluative conditioning


"Evaluative learning has been implicated in the development of preferences and aversions. It has been suggested that evaluative learning is also important in the development of many clinical problems (e.g., depression). In these latter areas, the generalisation of negative evaluative, and particularly self-evaluative, judgements across many aspects of a person's life may be a serious problem for everyday functioning. Given the applied relevance of this work, it is essential that the basic mechanisms of self-evaluative learning, as well as how learned self-evaluations become generalised across a range of situations, is investigated comprehensively. It has previously been shown that exposure to certain schedule conditions will lead to particular self-efficacy ratings, and that stimuli can also gain a particular valence through their relation/ association with such situations leading to generalisation of the ratings. Previous work examined how psychological functions can be changed through sameness (equivalence) relations. The current proposal will extend this work by: 1) examining the potential to develop a model of generalised evaluative functions resulting from a combination of the literatures and techniques from evaluative learning and derived relational responding; 2) investigating the impact of the structure of such classes on generalisation, including whether such transfer of function reliably emerges across non-sameness relations. The latter is a process that potentially allows much greater, and, perhaps, more varied routes of generalisation of evaluative learning, than transfer through relations of sameness alone. A coherent understanding of how self evaluations, and judgements of efficacy, are learned, maintained, and generalised, would be both informative at a theoretical level, as well as for the applied domain, providing a useful model of the behaviours that need to be targeted in order to circumvent the generalisation of negative self evaluations."

Call for proposal

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Funding Scheme

MC-CIG - Support for training and career development of researcher (CIG)


4 Dublin
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 50 000
Administrative Contact
Donal Doolan (Mr.)