Evaluative Conditioning From the Perspective of the Associative-Propositional Evaluation Model


  • Bertram Gawronski
  • Galen V. Bodenhausen


Evaluative conditioning (EC) is defined as the change in the evaluation of a conditioned stimulus (CS) due to its pairing with a positive or negative unconditioned stimulus (US). According to the associative-propositional evaluation (APE) model, EC effects can be the result of two functionally distinct learning mechanisms: associative and propositional learning. The current article reviews the core assumptions of the APE model regarding (1) the defining features of associative and propositional learning, (2) the mental representations resulting from the two learning mechanisms, (3) the processes involved in the behavioral expression of these representations, and (4) the automatic versus controlled nature of the processes underlying EC effects. In addition to reviewing the core assumptions of the APE model, the article reviews relevant evidence to illustrate the theory’s main hypotheses, its explanatory and predictive power, as well as empirical challenges for the theory.