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Affective perseverance: The resistance of affect to cognitive invalidation


Four studies demonstrated that affective preferences persevere even if the cognition that gave rise to the affect is invalidated. In Study 1, participants learned associations between Chinese ideographs and their English meanings that were either positively or negatively valenced; subsequently, they were informed that these meanings were incorrect. Despite this cognitive invalidation, the affect associated with the ideographs persevered. Studies 2 and 3 ruled out alternative explanations. Study 4 showed that invalidating information containing opposite affective valence succeeded in changing the affective perseverance, whereas the neutral cognitive invalidation of Studies 1 through 3 did not. The present research provides an empirical demonstration of affective perseverance, specifying the conditions where affective preferences do and do not persevere when confronted with invalidating information. Discussion centers on issues of underlying mechanism and implications for other psychological phenomena. © 2002 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.

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