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A COGNITIVE SKILL CONFOUND ON THE IMPLICIT ASSOCIATION TEST

By Sam G. Mcfarl and Zachary Crouch

Abstract

We hy poth e sized that scores on the Im plicit As so ci a tion Test (IAT) are con-founded with a gen eral cog ni tive abil ity of how quickly one can pro cess in for-ma tion when the IAT cat e go ries seem in con gru ent com pared to when they are con gru ent. Across four stud ies, two IATs on ir rel e vant di men sions (e.g., de li-cious–happy) were sub stan tially cor re lated with IATs as sess ing prej u dice and self–es teem, con firm ing the gen eral skill con found: Those who lack this skill are bi ased to ward higher prej u dice and lower self–es teem IAT scores. How-ever, IATs with just two ex em plars in each cat e gory were much less af fected by this con found than were those with more ex em plars. The cog ni tive skill was as so ci ated spe cif i cally with the dif fi culty in re spond ing when cat e go ries were in con gru ent and to the difficulty of mentally switching sets in the middle of an IAT. In re cent years, the Im plicit As so ci a tion Test (IAT; Green wald, McGhee, & Schwartz, 1998) has rap idly be come a pop u lar method for as sess ing at ti tudes that in di vid u als might not rec og

Year: 2013
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