Single category and comparative measures of implicit social cognition

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Conference Proceeding

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The Implicit Association Test (IAT) has proven to be a useful measure of implicit social cognition in a variety of contexts and domains. However, the IAT is limited to measuring the relative strengths of pairs of associations rather than absolute strengths of associations with a single concept. Recently, a Single Category Implicit Association Test (SC-IAT) has been developed to assess the evaluative associations with a single attitude object (Karpinski & Steinman, 2005; see also the Single Target-IAT, Wigboldus, Holland, & Knippenberg, 2005). To investigate the predictive utility of the IAT and the SC-IAT, participants completed a Bush-Kerry IAT, Bush and Kerry SC-IATs and explicit attitude measures. Participants also indicated their current level of satisfaction with President Bush and indicated whom they would vote for if a presidential election were today. The IAT was only modestly correlated with the difference between the Bush and Kerry SC-IATs, r = .284, p < .05. Controlling for explicit attitudes, the IAT predicted voting preferences, p < .01, whereas the SC-IAT measures did not, ps > .62. On the other hand, controlling for explicit attitudes, the Bush SC-IAT significantly predicted job satisfaction ratings for Bush, p = .05, whereas the IAT did not, p > .10. These results suggest that the IAT is particularly well suited to investigate constructs that are inherently comparative, whereas the SC-IAT is well suited to investigate constructs that are not inherently comparative.


Presented at the 7th Annual Meeting of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology, Palm Springs, California