Retrieval cues fail to influence contextualized evaluations

Initial evaluations generalise to new contexts, whereas counter-attitudinal evaluations are context-specific. Counter-attitudinal information may not change evaluations in new contexts because perceivers fail to retrieve counter-attitudinal cue-evaluation associations from memory outside the counter-attitudinal learning context. The current work examines whether an additional, counter-attitudinal retrieval cue can enhance the generalizability of counter-attitudinal evaluations. In four experiments, participants learned positive information about a target person, Bob, in one context, and then learned negative information about Bob in a different context. While learning the negative information, participants wore a wristband as a retrieval cue for counter-attitudinal Bob-negative associations. Participants then made speeded as well as deliberate evaluations of Bob while wearing or not wearing the wristband. Internal meta-analysis failed to find a reliable effect of the counter-attitudinal retrieval cue on speeded or deliberate evaluations, whereas the context cues influenced speeded and deliberate evaluations. Counter to predictions, counter-attitudinal retrieval cues did not disrupt the generalisation of first-learned evaluations or the context-specificity of second-learned evaluations (Experiments 2–4), but the counter-attitudinal retrieval cue did influence evaluations in the absence of context cues (Experiment 1). The current work provides initial evidence that additional counter-attitudinal retrieval cues fail to disrupt the renewal and generalizability of first-learned evaluations.