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J Exp Psychol Gen. 2004 Jun;133(2):139-65.

Underlying processes in the implicit association test: dissociating salience from associations.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Trier, Trier, Germany. rothermu@uni-trier.de

Abstract

The authors investigated whether effects of the Implicit Association Test (IAT) are influenced by salience asymmetries, independent of associations. Two series of experiments analyzed unique effects of salience by using nonassociated, neutral categories that differed in salience. In a 3rd series, salience asymmetries were manipulated experimentally while holding associations between categories constant. In a 4th series, valent associations of the target categories were manipulated experimentally while holding salience asymmetries constant. Throughout, IAT effects were found to depend on salience asymmetries. Additionally, salience asymmetries between categories were assessed directly with a visual search task to provide an independent criterion of salience asymmetries. Salience asymmetries corresponded to IAT effects and also accounted for common variance in IAT effects and explicit measures of attitudes or the self-concept.

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