Measuring individual differences ...
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Copyright 1998 by the American Psychological Association, Inc. 1998, Vol. 74, No. 6, 1464-1480 0022-3514/98/$3,00 Measuring Individual Differences in Implicit Cognition: The Implicit Association Test A n t h o n y G . G r e e n w a l d , D e b b i e E. M c G h e e , a n d J o r d a n L. K. S c h w a r t z University of Washington An implicit association test (IAT) measures differential association of 2 target concepts with an attribute. The 2 concepts appear in a 2-choice task (e.g., flower vs. insect names), and the attribute in a 2nd task (e.g., pleasant vs. unpleasant words for an evaluation attribute). When instructions oblige highly associated categories (e.g., flower + pleasant) to share a response key, performance is faster than when less associated categories (e.g., insect + pleasant) share a key. This performance difference implicitly measures differential association of the 2 concepts with the attribute. In 3 experiments, the IAT was sensitive to (a) near-universal evaluative differences (e.g., flower vs. insect), (b) expected individual differences in evaluative associations (Japanese + pleasant vs. Korean + pleasant for Japanese vs. Korean subjects), and (c) consciously disavowed evaluative differences (Black + pleasant vs. White + pleasant for self-described unprejudiced White subjects). Consider a thought experiment. You are shown a series of male and female faces, to which you are to respond as rapidly as possible by saying " h e l l o " if the face is male and " g o o d b y e " if it is female. For a second task, you are shown a series of male and female names, to which you are to respond rapidly with ' 'hello" for male names and " g o o d b y e " for female names. These discriminations are both designed to be e a s y - - t h e faces and names are unambiguously male or female. For a final task you are asked to perform both of these discriminations alter- nately. That is, you are shown a series of alternating faces and names, and you are to say " h e l l o " if the face or name is male and " g o o d b y e " if the face or name is female. If you guess that this combined task will be easy, you are correct. Now imagine a small variation of the thought experiment. The first discrimination is the same ( " h e l l o " to male faces, " g o o d b y e " to female faces), but the second is reversed ( "good- bye" to male names, " h e l l o " to female names). As with the first experiment, each of these tasks, by itself, is easy. However, when you contemplate mixing the two tasks ( " h e l l o " to male face or female name and " g o o d b y e " to female face or male name), you may suspect that this new combined task will be difficult. Unless you wish to make many errors, you will have to respond considerably more slowly than in the previous experiment. The expected difficulty of the experiment with the reversed Anthony G. Greenwald, Debbie E. McGhee, and Jordan L.K. Schwartz, Department of Psychology, University of Washington. This research was partially supported by Grant SBR-9422242 from the National Science Foundation and Grant MH 41328 from the National Institute of Mental Health. For comments on a draft of this article, the authors thank Mahzarin Banaji, Shelly Famham, Laurie Rudman, and Yuichi Shoda. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to An- thony G. Greenwald, Department of Psychology, Box 351525, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-1525. Electronic mail may be sent to email@example.com. second discrimination follows from the existence of strong asso- ciations of male names to male faces and female names to female faces. The attempt to map the same two responses ( " h e l l o " and " g o o d b y e " ) in opposite ways onto the two gender contrasts is resisted by well-established associations that link the face and name domains. The (assumed) performance difference be- tween the two versions of the combined task indeed measures the strength of gender-based associations between the face and name domains. This pair of thought experiments provides the model for a method, the implicit association test (IAT), that is potentially useful for diagnosing a wide range of socially significant associative structures. The present research sought specifically to appraise the IAT method's usefulness for measur- ing evaluative associations that underlie implicit attitudes (Greenwald & Banaji, 1995). M e a s u r i n g Implicit Attitudes Implicit attitudes are manifest as actions or judgments that are under the control of automatically activated evaluation, with- out the performer's awareness of that causation (Greenwald & Banaji, 1995, pp. 6 - 8 ) . 1 The IAT procedure seeks to measure implicit attitudes by measuring their underlying automatic evalu- ation. The IAT is therefore similar in intent to cognitive priming procedures for measuring automatic affect or attitude (e.g., Bargh, Chaiken, Govender, & Pratto, 1992 Fazio, Sanbonmatsu, Powell, & Kardes, 1986 Fazio, 1993 Greenwald, Klinger, & Liu, 1989 Perdue, Dovidio, Gurtman, & Tyler, 1990 Perdue & Gurtman, 1990). 2 ~ Greenwald and Banaji (1995) defined implicit attitudes as "intro- spectively unidentified (or inaccurately identified) traces of past experi- ence that mediate favorable or unfavorable feeling, thought, or action toward social objects" (p. 8). 2 A few recent studies have indicated that priming measures may be sensitive enough to serve as measures of individual differences in the strength of automatic attitudinal evaluation (Dovidio & Gaertner, 1995 Fazio, Jackson, Dunton, & Williams, 1995). At the same time, other studies have indicated that priming is relatively unaffected by variations 1464
IMPLICIT ASSOCIATION TEST 1465 Sequence 1 2 3 4 5 Task Initial Associated Initial Reversed Reversed tetget-concept attribute combined target-concept combined description discrimination discrimination task discrimination task BLACK BLACK ��� Task ��� BLACK pleasant BLACK ��� ��� pleasant i n s t r u c t i o n s WHITE ��� WHITE ��� ��� WHITE ��� WHITE unpleasant ��� unpleasant ��� Sample stimuli MEREDITH o o LATONYA o SHAVONN HEATHER o o TASHIKA KATIE o BETSY o o EBONY ��� pleasant ��� unpleasant ��� o lucky o o honor o poison o gdef o o gilt disaster o o o happy o hatred o JASMINE pleasure PEGGY o evil o COLLEEN o miracle TEMEKA b o m b o o COURTNEY o STEPHANIE SHEREEN o o SUE-ELLEN TIA o SHARISE o o MEGAN NICHELLE o o peace LATISHA o filth o o LAUREN o rainbow SHANISE o accident o o NANCY Figure 1. Schematic description and illustration of the implicit association test (IAT). The IAT procedure of the present experiments involved a series of five discrimination tasks (numbered columns). A pair of target concepts and an attribute dimension are introduced in the first two steps. Categories for each of these discriminations are assigned to a left or right response, indicated by the black circles in the third row. These are combined in the third step and then recombined in the fifth step, after reversing response assignments (in the fourth step) for the target-concept discrimination. The illustration uses stimuli for the specific tasks for one of the task-order conditions of Experiment 3, with correct responses indicated as open circles. One might appreciate the IAT's potential value as a measure of socially significant automatic associations by changing the thought experiment to one in which the to-be-distinguished faces of the first task are Black or White (e.g., " h e l l o " to African American faces and " g o o d b y e " to European American faces) and the second task is to classify words as pleasant or unpleasant in meaning ( " h e l l o " to pleasant words, " g o o d b y e " to unpleas- ant words). The two possible combinations of these tasks can be abbreviated as Black + pleasant and White + pleasant. 3 Black + pleasant should be easier than White + pleasant if there is a stronger association between Black Americans and pleasant meaning than between White Americans and pleasant meaning. If the preexisting associations are opposite in direc- t i o n - w h i c h might be expected for White subjects raised in a culture imbued with pervasive residues of a history of anti- Black discrimination--the subject should find White + pleasant to be easier. A possible property of the I A T - - a n d one that is similar to a major virtue of cognitive priming m e t h o d s - - i s that it may resist masking by self-presentation strategies. That is, the implicit association method may reveal attitudes and other automatic associations even for subjects who prefer not to express those attitudes. D e s i g n o f the IAT Figure 1 describes the sequence of tasks that constitute the IAT measures in this research and illustrates this sequence with materials from the present Experiment 3. The IAT assesses the association between a target-concept discrimination and an at- tribute dimension. The procedure starts with introduction of the target-concept discrimination. In Figure 1, this initial discrimi- nation is to distinguish first names that are (in the United States) recognizable as Black or African American from ones recogniz- able as White or European American. This and subsequent dis- criminations are performed by assigning one category to a re- sponse by the left hand and the other to a response by the right hand. The second step is introduction of the attribute dimension, also in the form of a two-category discrimination. For all of the present experiments, the attribute discrimination was evaluation, represented by the task of categorizing words as pleasant versus unpleasant in meaning. After this introduction to the target dis- crimination and to the attribute dimension, the two are superim- posed in the third step, in which stimuli for target and attribute discriminations appear on alternate trials. In the fourth step, the respondent learns a reversal of response assignments for the target discrimination, and the fifth (final) step combines the attribute discrimination (not changed in response assignments) with this reversed target discrimination. If the target categories in attitude strength (Bargh et al., 1992 Chaiken & Bargh, 1993), im- plying that it may be limited in sensitivity to intra- or interindividual differences. 3 Black + pleasant means that African American faces and pleasant words share the same response it could equally have been described as White + unpleasant.
1466 GREENWALD, McGHEE, AND SCHWARTZ are differentially associated with the attribute dimension, the subject should find one of the combined tasks (of the third or fifth step) to be considerably easier than the other, as in the m a l e - f e m a l e thought experiments. The measure of this diffi- culty difference provides the measure of implicit attitudinal dif- ference between the target categories. O v e r v i e w o f R e s e a r c h Subjects Thirty-two (13 male and 19 female) students from introductory psy- chology courses at the University of Washington participated in exchange for an optional course creditP Data for 8 additional subjects were not included in the analysis because of their relatively high error rates, which were associated with responding more rapidly than appropriate for the task. 6 Data were unusable for one additional subject who, for unknown reasons, neglected to complete the computer-administered portion of the experiment. Because the present three experiments sought to assess the IAT's ability to measure implicit attitudes, in each experiment the associated attribute dimension was evaluation (pleasant vs. unpleasant) .4 Each experiment investigated attitudes that were expected to be strong enough to be automatically activated. Experiment 1 used target concepts for which the evaluative associations were expected to be highly similar across persons. Two of these concepts were attitudinally positive (flowers and musical instruments) and two were negative (insects and weap- ons). Experiment 2 used two groups of subjects (Korean Ameri- can and Japanese American) to assess ethnic attitudes that were assumed to be mutually opposed, stemming from the history of military subjugation of Korea by Japan in the first half of the 20th century. The IAT method was expected to reveal these opposed evaluations even for subjects who would deny, on self- report measures, any antipathy toward the out-group. Experi- ment 3 used the IAT to assess implicit attitudes of White subjects toward White and Black racial categories. For these subjects we expected that the IAT might reveal more attitudinal discrimi- nation between White and Black categories than would be re- vealed by explicit (self-report) measures of the same racial attitudes. E x p e r i m e n t 1 Experiment 1 used the IAT to assess implicit attitudes toward two pairs of target attitude concepts for which subjects were expected to have relatively uniform evaluative associations. A second purpose was to examine effects on IAT measures of several procedural variables that are intrinsic to the IAT method. Subjects in Experiment 1 responded to two target-concept dis- criminations: (a) flower names (e.g., rose, tulip, marigold) ver- sus insect names (e.g., bee, wasp, horsefly) and ( b ) musical instrument names (e.g., violin, flute, piano) versus weapon names (e.g., gun, knife, hatchet). Each target-concept discrimi- nation was used in combination with discrimination of pleasant- meaning words (e.g., family, happy, peace) from unpleasant- meaning words (e.g., crash, rotten, ugly). The IAT procedure was expected to reveal superior performance for combinations that were evaluatively compatible (flower + pleasant or instru- ment + pleasant) than for noncompatible combinations (insect + pleasant or weapon + pleasant). Me~od After being seated at a table with a desktop computer in a small room, subjects received all instructions from a computer display and provided all of their responses via the computer keyboard. Materials The experiment's three classification tasks used 150 stimulus words: 25 insect names, 25 flower names, 25 musical instrument names, 25 weapon names, 25 pleasant-meaning words, and 25 unpleasant-meaning words. The pleasant and unpleasant words were selected from norms reported by Bellezza, Greenwald, and Banaji (1986). Many of the items for the other four categories were taken from category lists provided by Battig and Montague (1969), with additional category members gener- ated by the authors. The selected flower, insect, instrument, and weapon exemplars were ones that the authors judged to be both familiar to and unambiguously classifiable by members of the subject population. The 150 words used as stimuli in Experiment 1 are listed in Appendix A. Apparatus Experiment 1 was administered on IBM-compatible (80486 proces- sor) desktop computers] Subjects viewed this display from a distance of about 65 cm and gave left responses with left forefinger (using the A key) and right responses with right forefinger (using the 5 key on the right-side numeric keypad). Overview Each subject completed tasks for two IAT measures in succession, one using flowers versus insects as the target-concept discrimination, and the other using musical instruments versus weapons. The first IAT used the complete sequence of five steps of Figure 1: (a) initial target- concept discrimination, (b) evaluative attribute discrimination, (c) first combined task, (d) reversed target-concept discrimination, and (e) re- versed combined task. The second IAT did not need to repeat practice of the evaluative discrimination, and so included only four steps: (f) initial target-concept discrimination, (g) first combined task, (h) re- versed target-concept discrimination, and (i) reversed combined task. One IAT measure of attitude was obtained by comparing performance in steps (c) and (e), and the second by comparing performance in steps (g) and (i). 4 The IAT can be used also to measure implicit stereotypes and implicit self-concept (see Greenwald & Banaji, 1995) by appropriate selection of target concept and attribute discriminations. 5 Another group of 32 subjects participated in a prior replication of Experiment 1 that, however, lacked the paper-and-pencil explicit mea- sures that were included in the reported replication. With one minor exception (mentioned in Footnote 11 ), there were no discrepancies in findings between the two replications. 6 Use of data from these 8 subjects (instead of those who replaced them in the design) would have reduced power of statistical tests. As it turns out, this would not have altered any conclusions. The higher power obtained by replacing them was desirable because of the importance of identifying possible procedural influences on the IAT method. 7 The programs used for all of the present experiments were Windows 95-based and written primarily by Sean C. Draine.