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Q J Exp Psychol (Hove). 2009 Jan;62(1):84-98. doi: 10.1080/17470210701822975.

Minimizing the influence of recoding in the Implicit Association Test: the Recoding-Free Implicit Association Test (IAT-RF).

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  • 1Institut für Psychologie, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Am Steiger 3, Jena, Germany.


Recoding processes can influence the Implicit Association Test (IAT; Greenwald, McGhee, & Schwartz, 1998) in a way that impedes an unequivocal interpretation of the resulting compatibility effects. We present a modified version of the IAT that aims to eliminate recoding, the IAT-RF (short for "IAT-recoding free"). In the IAT-RF, compatible and incompatible assignments of categories to responses switch randomly between trials within a single experimental block. Abandoning an extended sequence of consistent category-response mappings undermines recoding processes in the IAT-RF. Two experiments reveal that the IAT-RF is capable of assessing compatibility effects between the nominally defined categories of the task and effectively prevents recoding. By enforcing a processing of the stimuli in terms of their task-relevant category membership, the IAT-RF eliminates the confounding of compatibility effects with task switch costs and becomes immune against biased selections of stimuli.

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