How do you know that you like someone or something? Often, seeing a person you like gives you a good feeling inside or makes you smile. You have that reaction far before you could say exactly why you like that person. Indeed, you might find it hard to put into words exactly why you like them, but you know you do.
There is a lot of work in Psychology showing that you can come to like someone (or some thing for that matter) not because of anything they have done, but just because you tend to feel good when you are around them. There is a procedure called evaluative conditioning that shows how this can happen.
As one example, Michael Olson and Russell Fazio presented studies in the journal Psychological Science in 2001. They had people stare at a computer screen while images were presented to them very rapidly (at a rate of 1.5 seconds per image). They told people that they were studying people's ability to do surveillance in a complex environment. The images consisted both of pictures (of different Pokemon characters) as well as words. Sometimes, more than one word or picture appeared on the same screen. In fact, one Pokemon character was repeatedly paired with positive words and images (like the word excellent or a picture of a sundae). A second character was repeatedly paired with negative words and images (like the word terrible or a picture of a cockroach). Later, people were asked to rate how much they liked the character. People consistently gave higher ratings to the character that was paired with positive words and pictures than to the character that was paired with negative words and pictures. This difference occurred, though the participants in the study were not aware of which words and images had appeared with the characters.
So, what is going on here? In a May, 2009 paper in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Christopher Jones, along with Russell Fazio and Michael Olson argue that this change in evaluation of the objects occurs because of a mis-attribution of the good feeling to the object. That is, in these kinds of experiments, the positive words and pictures make the person feel good. They are not sure why they feel good, so the good feeling is attached to the Pokemon character that is consistently associated with feeling good. Likewise, the negative words and pictures make them feel bad. They are not sure why they feel bad, so they attach the negative feeling to the Pokemon character that is consistently associated with feeling bad.
Often, of course, this strategy is a pretty good one. If there is a person in the world, and you usually feel good around that person, chances are that person is making you feel good. If there is a person and you usually feel bad around them, chances are that person is making you feel bad. However, this strategy can lead to the wrong outcome too. You may end up liking people and things you encounter in positive situations more than perhaps you should. Similarly, you may end up disliking people and things you encounter in negative situations more than you should.
我们首先要说的历史，是Michael Olson和Russell Fazio 2001年在《心理科学》杂志上发表的一系列研究。他们让一些人坐在电脑屏幕前，屏幕上很快地出现一些图像（1.5秒/张）。他们告诉被试，他们在研究人在复杂环境中的警觉能力。这些图像包括了图片（比如口袋妖怪里的角色）或者词汇。有时候屏幕上会出现多个词或者图片。实际上，有一个口袋妖怪的角色每次都是和正面的词汇或者图像一起出现（比如“棒极了”或者是圣像）。之后，被试需要回答他们有多喜欢这个角色。比起那些与负面词汇获图像一起出现的角色，人们总是会给那些与正面词汇获图像一起出现的角色。虽然参加这项试验的人并没有意识到什么词和角色一起出现，这个区别依然很明显。
那到底为什么呢？2009年5月的《人格与社会心理学》上，Christopher Jones, 与 Russell Fazio、Michael Olson发表论文指出，对于物体评判的这种变化是因为人们把好的感觉错误地归结于这个物体。也就是说，在这种实验中，好的词语和图片让人感觉好。他们并不知道为什么自己感觉好，所以这种好的感觉就总是和口袋妖怪的角色联系在一起。同样，负面的词汇或者图片让他们觉得不舒服。他们不确定为什么自己感觉不好，所以，他们也就把这种负面的感受和口袋怪物的角色联系在了一起。