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Testing a cognitive model of implicit self-esteem through evaluative conditioning

Implicit self-esteem is the automatic and unconscious component of self-esteem, which is generally not correlated with more traditional measures of explicit self-esteem. The goal of the research presented in this dissertation was to test a cognitive model of implicit self-esteem. Drawing from interpersonal theories of self-esteem and from theories of evaluative learning, I hypothesized that implicit self-esteem is developed through repeated exposure to pairings of the self with interpersonal rejection or acceptance, leading to unconscious and automatic self--rejected or self--accepted cognitive associations. I tested this theory using a computer-based conditioning task designed to enhance implicit self-esteem through the repeated pairing of self-relevant information (e.g., first name, birthday) with interpersonal acceptance (i.e., photographs of smiling faces). Support for this hypothesis was found in four studies. Overall, participants who completed the computer-based conditioning task generally had higher scores on the self-esteem Implicit Associations Test compared to participants in a control condition. Furthermore, the conditioning task had no effect on explicit self-esteem scores, providing support for the distinct nature of implicit self-esteem relative to explicit self-esteem. Finally, exploratory analyses showed that contingency awareness was not needed for evaluative conditioning to occur. These findings support the proposed cognitive model of implicit self-esteem and provide a novel computer-based conditioning task for enhancing implicit self-esteem.
Date January 2005
CreatorsBaccus, Jodene Robin
PublisherMcGill University
Source SetsLibrary and Archives Canada ETDs Repository / Centre d'archives des thèses électroniques de Bibliothèque et Archives Canada
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation
CoverageDoctor of Philosophy (Department of Psychology.)
RightsAll items in eScholarship@McGill are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
Relationalephsysno: 002269042, proquestno: AAINR21616, Theses scanned by UMI/ProQuest.

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