Attitudes beyond associations: On the role of propositional representations in stimulus evaluation

Jan De Houwer, Pieter Van Dessel, Tal Moran

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

57 Scopus citations


The idea that attitudes are associations in memory has been very influential. We highlight an alternative perspective according to which stimulus evaluation is mediated by propositional representations. Unlike simple associations, which are merely links between nodes via which activation can spread, propositional representations are units of information that specify how events are related and that have a truth value. We review research on attitude acquisition and attitude activation that was inspired by this propositional perspective. This research reveals surprising parallels between phenomena that are often assumed to be fundamentally different (e.g., evaluative conditioning vs. persuasion; implicit vs. explicit evaluation) but also interesting differences that provide the impetus for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Experimental Social Psychology
EditorsBertram Gawronski
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages57
ISBN (Print)9780128203729
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Social Psychology
ISSN (Print)0065-2601


  • Associations
  • Attitudes
  • Evaluations
  • Evaluative conditioning
  • Implicit evaluation
  • Propositions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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