I Like It But I Don't Know Why: A Value-Account Approach to Implicit Attitude Formation

T. Betsch*, H. Plessner, C.A.A. Schwieren, R. Guetig

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic


The authors suggest a theory that predicts how summary evaluations about targets are implicitly formed and stored in memory and under which conditions they are used in attitude judgment. First, it is assumed that the mere encoding of value-charged stimuli is a sufficient condition to initiate implicit online formation of summary evaluations. Second, the authors claim that this process is summative. Accordingly, the intensities of the positive or negative responses evoked by the stimuli in the organism are thought to be accumulated and stored in a unitary memory structure. This hypothetical structure is called value account. Third, it is assumed that a value account is more easily accessible in memory than are concrete traces of past experiences. Therefore, attitude judgments should rely on value accounts, especially if cognitive capacities are constrained (e.g., due to time pressure). Three experiments that provide converging evidence for the value-account approach are reported.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-253
JournalSocial Behavior and Personality
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001

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