Beyond inhibitory control training: Inactions and actions influence smartphone app use through changes in explicit liking

Abstract

Human behavior can be classified into 2 basic categories: execution of responses and withholding responses. This classification is used in go/no-go training, where people respond to some objects and withhold their responses to other objects. Despite its simplicity, there is now substantial evidence that such training is powerful in changing human behavior toward such objects. However, it is poorly understood how simple responses can influence behavior. Contrary to the remarkably tenacious idea that go/no-go training changes behavior by strengthening inhibitory control, we propose that the training changes behavior via changes in explicit liking of objects. In two preregistered experiments, we show that go/no-go training influences explicit liking for smartphone apps (Experiments 1 and 2) and that this liking partially mediates the effect of the training on consequential choices for using these apps 1 day later (Experiment 2). The results highlight the role of evaluations when examining how motor response training influences behavior. This knowledge can inform development of more effective applied motor response training procedures and raises new theoretical questions on the relation between motor responses and affect.

Publication
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General
Date