The Cue-Approach Task as a General Mechanism for Long-Term Non-Reinforced Behavioral Change

Tom Salomon, Rotem Botvinik-Nezer, Tony Gutentag, Rani Gera, Roni Iwanir, Maya Tamir, Tom Schonberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Recent findings show that preferences for food items can be modified without external reinforcements using the cue-approach task. In the task, the mere association of food item images with a neutral auditory cue and a speeded button press, resulted in enhanced preferences for the associated stimuli. In a series of 10 independent samples with a total of 255 participants, we show for the first time that using this non-reinforced method we can enhance preferences for faces, fractals and affective images, as well as snack foods, using auditory, visual and even aversive cues. This change was highly durable in follow-up sessions performed one to six months after training. Preferences were successfully enhanced for all conditions, except for negative valence items. These findings promote our understanding of non-reinforced change, suggest a boundary condition for the effect and lay the foundation for development of novel applications.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number3614
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Israeli Science Foundation (ISF number 1798/15 and 2004/15) and the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement n° 715016) granted to Tom Schonberg.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Author(s).


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