The Psychological Record

, Volume 62, Issue 1, pp 55–68 | Cite as

A Behavior Analytically Modified Implicit Association Test for Measuring Sexual Categorization of Children

  • Amanda GavinEmail author
  • Bryan Roche
  • Maria R. Ruiz
  • Maria Hogan
  • Anthony O’Reilly


The current study assessed the sexual categorization of children among a random sample of adults from the general population. Twenty-seven males and 27 females (N = 54) were exposed to a categorization task that assessed their ability to discriminate adult-from child-related words and sexual from nonsexual words. Then, in a modified Implicit Association Test they were required to respond with a particular key press to individual child-and adult-related stimuli paired with either sexual or nonsexual stimuli. In another block of testing the pairs of stimuli requiring a common key response were juxtaposed. There was more effective acquisition of common response functions for child/nonsexual than for child/sexual stimulus pairs for all participants combined. This effect was also observed for female participants separately but not for males. These findings support the utility of behavior-analytic variations of the Implicit Association Test but raise important considerations regarding their use as forensic and diagnostic tools.


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Copyright information

© Association of Behavior Analysis International 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amanda Gavin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bryan Roche
    • 2
  • Maria R. Ruiz
    • 3
  • Maria Hogan
    • 2
  • Anthony O’Reilly
    • 2
  1. 1.Psychology Section, School of Social Sciences and LawTeesside UniversityMiddlesbroughUK
  2. 2.National University of IrelandMaynoothIreland
  3. 3.Rollins CollegeFloridaUSA

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