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Familiarity and Liking: Direct Tests of the Preference-Feedback Hypothesis

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journal contribution
posted on 04.08.2008, 14:55 by Andrew M. Colman, Wendy M. Best, Alison J. Austin
Previous investigations have provided evidence for positive (“mere exposure”), negative, and inverted-U functional relationships between familiarity and liking for various categories of stimuli. The preference-feedback hypothesis offers an explanation for these seemingly contradictory findings; two experiments designed to test the hypothesis directly are reported in this paper. In both experiments, as predicted by the hypothesis, mere exposure effects were found for Class A stimuli, whose cultural prevalence is determined partly by their popularity; but the hypothesized nonmonotonic familiarity-liking relationship did not emerge for Class B stimuli, whose cultural prevalence is unresponsive to their popularity. Four possible explanations of these findings are discussed.



Colman, A. M., Best, W. M., & Austen, A. J. (1986). Familiarity and liking: Direct tests of the preference-feedback hypothesis. Psychological Reports, 58, 931-938.

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Two experiments testing the preference-feedback hypothesis regarding mere exposure