Mere Exposure: The effect of repeated stimulus


Mere exposure is the effect of a repeated stimulus, such as watching the news channel 24/7. It can affect the way you think and behave and conflict with your beliefs in a way that can change them to suit another’s agenda.

Currently, in Australia, we are in election mode, the media bias is excruciatingly painful to watch. The media is making a spectacle of the opposing side for making a small mistake, they’ve been pushing this gaffe for two days now. Yet, we see the current government get away of moral and ethical issues and 3 years of ignoring climate disasters area. I won’t go into too many details though, but I want to look at the effects of this biased behaviours of abuse of power through the mere exposure effect in manipulating from both a positive and negative way.

The science

Robert Zajonc published Attitudinal effects of mere exposure in 1968 in a study in which an individual is repeatedly exposed to a particulate stimulus object. As to influence ideological perceptions in values, politics, marketing and culture.

In that, one is familiarised through repeated exposure and choices are made through familiarity, usually from exposure to visual or auditory objects or even experience. Mere exposure effect is used to influence towards a product or group, in marketing. Manipulating colleagues or society to conform, sometimes against one’s belief system, using the exposure in a negative. The same way advertisements influence our purchasing decisions.

Moreover, the more you see the promotion, the more it becomes the truth as the subliminal induction affect. Mere Exposure can be used as a negative in making someone or a group as less likeable, having an effect through repeated exposure of mistakes or wrongdoing.

Whereas, the conditioned response (CR) become fact that the individual or group becomes conditioned in the beliefs of another entity. We have all heard of the Pavlov’s Dog experiment known as Classical conditioning. Where the bell rings, the dog salivates after being conditioned to being given food after the bell rings.

Mere exposure effect with the subliminal induction effect, the subjects had no idea they were being conditioned with a repeated message.

Mere exposure, seeing the same objects, influencing your decisions.
Mere exposure, seeing the same objects repeatedly.

The Conversation

The media are using the negative side of mere exposure effect to influence the results of elections. When they should be an unbiased mediator to the public, reporting on either negative or positive on events, in a manner that lets the people decide.

Unbiased reporting is becoming rare in today’s media, they are competing with social media and bloggers to get the information out. Don’t get sucked in to the political bickering, get sucked into what your life, family, friends need.


Visit the parties websites and abstain from being influence by the main stream media. Make sure you know the facts before deciding. Check the policies, check the policies facts. Ask yourself how do they affect you, and vote accordingly to your beliefs and not others.

Always vote for the betterment of the human condition.

(A short one, but I wanted to get this out.)


Crisp, R., Hutter, R. and Young, B., 2009. When mere exposure leads to less liking: The incremental threat effect in intergroup contexts. British Journal of Psychology, 100(1), pp.133-149.

Zajonc, R. B. (1968). Attitudinal effects of mere exposure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 9(2, Pt.2), 1–27.

Zajonc, R., 2001. Mere Exposure: A Gateway to the Subliminal. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 10(6), pp.224-228.

Mere Exposure Effect




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