Tobias Vogel, Mandy Hütter, Jochen E. Gebauer
Is evaluative conditioning moderated by Big Five personality traits?

Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2019: 10, Heft 1, S. 94-102
ISSN: 1948-5506 (print); 1948-5514 (online)

Evaluative conditioning (EC), a change in liking of a stimulus due to its paired presentation with a positive or negative stimulus, is a key concept in attitude formation. The present article examines to what extent EC effects are moderated by Big Five personality. For this purpose, 567 participants completed an EC procedure and the Big Five Inventory. People high on neuroticism and agreeableness showed stronger EC effects than people low on those personality traits. In conclusion, attitude formation via EC depends in part on Big Five personality. This novel insight has important ramifications for EC research and personality research. As to EC research, the moderation by neuroticism suggests that EC effects intensify with an increased focus on valent stimuli. As to personality research, our findings reinforce the fundamental nature of the Big Five because they are evidentially able to moderate such basic learning phenomena as EC.