Methusalem 2: Learning and Implicit Processes

The Methusalem project is financed by the Flemish Government who initiated this type of financing in order to provide Flemish top researchers with structural, long term research funds. Jan De Houwer was awarded Methusalem financing in 2009. After the successful completion of the first period of seven years, in 2016, the project was extended for a second period of seven years. The aim of the second period is to capitalize on the main achievements and innovations of the previous period in order to reach the following core objectives:


1. To document the properties of learning via intersecting regularities, a type of learning that was described for the first time by our research team.

Core publication: Hughes, S., De Houwer, J., & Perugini, M. (2016). Expanding the boundaries of evaluative learning research: How intersecting regularities shape our likes and dislikes. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 145, 731-754. Get pdf


2. To develop ways of enhancing instructions so that their effects mimic more closely the effects of experience.

Core publication: Liefooghe, B., Wenke, D., & De Houwer, J. (2012). Instruction-based task-rule congruency effects. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 38, 1325-1335 Get pdf


3. To develop and validate new measures of implicit beliefs and to document the properties of automatic relational processing.

Core publication: De Houwer, J., Heider, N., Spruyt, A., Roets, A., & Hughes, S. (2015). The Relational Responding Task: Toward a New Implicit Measure of Beliefs. Frontiers in Psychology. 6:319. Get pdf


4. To continue the development of the functional-cognitive framework by relating it to various areas in psychology.

Core publication: Hughes, S., De Houwer, J., & Perugini, M. (2016). The functional-cognitive framework for psychological research: Controversies and resolutions. International Journal of Psychology, 51, 4-14. Get pdf


5. To add to the prediction and control of behaviors with important societal, economic, or health implications by applying our expertise with regard to measuring and changing implicit processes.

Core publication: Spruyt, A., De Houwer, J., Tibboel, H., Verschuere, B., Crombez, G., Verbanck, P., Hanak, C., Brevers, D., & Noel, X. (2013). On the predictive validity of automatically activated approach/avoidance tendencies in abstaining alcohol-dependent patients. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 127, 81-86. Get pdf