Context Dependency at Recall: Decoupling Context and Targets at Encoding

Research suggests that context influences judgments and implicit evaluations (e.g., attitudes toward a person depend upon the context in which we encounter that person). Importantly, previous research presents contextual cues at encoding, such that participants learn about a target person in context. Here, we decouple the process of learning about targets from manipulations of context. Participants in our studies learned about the intelligence and athleticism of a novel male target in a neutral context. Subsequently, we implicitly measured participants' attitudes toward the target in an intelligence-related or neutral context (Study 1) and in intelligence-related and athletic-related contexts (Study 2). In both studies, contextual cues (which were absent during encoding) influenced attitudes at retrieval.