A comparative investigation of seven indirect attitude measures

Abstract

We compared the psychometric qualities of seven indirect attitude measures across three attitude domains (race, politics, and self-esteem) with a large sample (N = 23,413). We compared the measures on internal consistency, sensitivity to known effects, relationships with indirect and direct measures of the same topic, the reliability and validity of single-category attitude measurement, their ability to detect meaningful variance among people with nonextreme attitudes, and their robustness to the exclusion of misbehaving or well-behaving participants. All seven indirect measures correlated with each other and with direct measures of the same topic. These relations were always weak for self-esteem, moderate for race, and strong for politics. This pattern suggests that some of the sources of variation in the reliability and predictive validity of the indirect measures is a function of the concepts rather than the methods. The Implicit Association Test (IAT) and Brief IAT (BIAT) showed the best overall psychometric quality, followed by the Go–No-Go association task, Single-Target IAT (ST-IAT), Affective Misattribution Procedure (AMP), Sorting Paired Features task, and Evaluative Priming. The AMP showed a steep decline in its psychometric qualities when people with extreme attitude scores were removed. Single-category attitude scores computed for the IAT and BIAT showed good relationships with other attitude measures but no evidence of discriminant validity between paired categories. The other measures, especially the AMP and ST-IAT, showed better evidence for discriminant validity. These results inform us on the validity of the measures as attitude assessments, but do not speak to the implicitness of the measured constructs.

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Author note

This project was supported by grants from the European Union (PIRG06‐GA‐2009‐256467), and the Israeli Science Foundation (1012/10) to Y. B.‐A, and from Project Implicit Inc. to Y.B.‐A and B.A.N.. B.A.N. is an officer of Project Implicit Inc., a nonprofit organization that provided financial and technical support to this project, and includes in its mission “To develop and deliver methods for investigating and applying phenomena of implicit social cognition, including especially phenomena of implicit bias based on age, race, gender or other factors.”

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Correspondence to Yoav Bar-Anan.

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Bar-Anan, Y., Nosek, B.A. A comparative investigation of seven indirect attitude measures. Behav Res 46, 668–688 (2014). https://doi.org/10.3758/s13428-013-0410-6

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Keywords

  • Implicit social cognition
  • Indirect measures
  • Implicit attitudes
  • The Brief Implicit Association Test