Development and application of an inferential account of automatic evaluation and behavior

01 October 2019 → 30 September 2022
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
No data available
inferential processes predictive coding automatic behavior automatic evaluation
Project description

The idea that automatic (e.g., unintentional) behavior such as the automatic evaluation of a stimulus (e.g., a snake), is the outcome of processes that operate on the basis of mental associations whereas reasoning or belief-based processes drive more controlled behavior has proven highly influential in psychological science. Importantly, however, recent findings have challenged key assumptions of these dual-process theories and inspired calls for the development and validation of single-process accounts of human (automatic and controlled) behavior.

The current project takes up this challenge by testing the idea that processes that build on (automatic) inferences determine human cognition and underlie not only controlled but also automatic evaluation and behavior. Based on recent developments in field of cognitive (neuro-) science and research findings obtained in my junior FWO post-doc project, I will (1) develop a novel theory that provides a detailed inferential explanation of automatic evaluation and other automatic behavior and (2) apply this new theory to develop interventions for changing unwanted behavior in different domains where effective interventions are urgently needed (i.e., in research on addiction, depression, racial prejudice, pro-environmental behavior).