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Exp Psychol. 2011;58(4):271-7. doi: 10.1027/1618-3169/a000093.

Does the name-race implicit association test measure racial prejudice?

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University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Research using the Implicit Association Test (IAT) has shown that names labeled as Caucasian elicit more positive associations than names labeled as non-Caucasian. One interpretation of this result is that the IAT measures latent racial prejudice. An alternative explanation is that the result is due to differences in in-group/out-group membership. In this study, we conducted three different IATs: one with same-race Dutch names versus racially charged Moroccan names; one with same-race Dutch names versus racially neutral Finnish names; and one with Moroccan names versus Finnish names. Results showed equivalent effects for the Dutch-Moroccan and Dutch-Finnish IATs, but no effect for the Finnish-Moroccan IAT. This suggests that the name-race IAT-effect is not due to racial prejudice. A diffusion model decomposition indicated that the IAT-effects were caused by changes in speed of information accumulation, response conservativeness, and non-decision time.

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