Preprint Article Version 1 This version not peer reviewed

A General Mechanism for Long Term Non-Reinforced Behavioral Change

Version 1 : Received: 20 June 2017 / Approved: 20 June 2017 / Online: 20 June 2017 (11:11:35 CEST)
Version 2 : Received: 19 September 2017 / Approved: 19 September 2017 / Online: 19 September 2017 (11:54:51 CEST)
Version 3 : Received: 22 October 2017 / Approved: 23 October 2017 / Online: 23 October 2017 (03:42:21 CEST)

How to cite: Salomon, T.; Botvinik-Nezer, R.; Gutentag, T.; Gera, R.; Iwanir, R.; Tamir, M.; Schonberg, T. A General Mechanism for Long Term Non-Reinforced Behavioral Change. Preprints 2017, 2017060094 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201706.0094.v1). Salomon, T.; Botvinik-Nezer, R.; Gutentag, T.; Gera, R.; Iwanir, R.; Tamir, M.; Schonberg, T. A General Mechanism for Long Term Non-Reinforced Behavioral Change. Preprints 2017, 2017060094 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201706.0094.v1).

Abstract

Achieving a long-lasting behavioral change is a major challenge that can have a large impact on the quality of life. Recently, it has been shown that using the cue-approach task (CAT), preferences for snack food items could be modified without external reinforcement. In the task, the mere association of images of snack food items with a neutral auditory cue and a speeded button press resulted in increased preferences for the associated items. We examined the generality and long term endurance of the mechanism underlying this non-reinforced behavioral change. In a series of nine independent experiments with 236 participants we used multiple cues of different modalities and a variety of conceptually different stimuli including snacks, affective images, faces and fractals. Our results show a consistent preference modification for all stimuli of neutral and positive (but not negative) valence, regardless of cue modality. More importantly, in five follow-up sessions performed one to six months after training, behavioral change was maintained and durable. Our results provide evidence of a replicable general mechanism for non-reinforced long lasting behavioral change, extending beyond cue modality and stimulus type. This mechanism can be utilized to improve our understanding of non-reinforced learning processes as well as for development of novel clinical behavioral change applications

Subject Areas

cue-approach; decision making; behavioral change; preferences; emotion

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