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Exp Psychol. 2003;50(1):33-48.

Implicit Association Test: separating transsituationally stable and variable components of attitudes toward gay men.

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  • 1University of Trier, Germany.


Implicit attitudes are conceived of as formed in childhood, suggesting extreme stability. At the same time, it has been shown that implicit attitudes are influenced by situational factors, suggesting variability by the moment. In the present article, using structural equation modeling, we decomposed implicit attitudes towards gay men into a person factor and a situational factor. The Implicit Association Test (Greenwald, McGhee, & Schwartz, 1998), introduced as an instrument with which individual differences in implicit attitudes can be measured, was used. Measurement was repeated after one week (Experiment 1) or immediately (Experiment 2). Explicit attitudes towards gay men as assessed by way of questionnaires were positive and stable across situations. Implicit attitudes were relatively negative instead. Internal consistency of the implicit attitude assessment was exemplary. However, the within-situation consistency was accompanied by considerable unexplained between-situation variability. Consequently, it may not be adequate to interpret an individual implicit attitude measured at a given point in time as a person-related, trait-like factor.

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