Plausible assumptions, questionable assumptions and post hoc rationalizations: Will the real IAT, please stand up?

Hart Blanton, James Jaccard, Charlene Christie, Patricia M. Gonzales

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

Abstract

In a recent article, we described psychometric limitations to the Implicit Association Test (IAT). These limitations restrict the utility of this measure and render it problematic for testing many psychological theories that posit a causal role for implicit attitudes. Past failures to recognize this may have promoted faulty conclusions in the literature. In a critique of our article, Nosek and Sriram rejected our entire analysis. They asserted that our original article was based on faulty assumptions and argued that the IAT performs nicely when these assumptions are replaced by other, more plausible assumptions. We show that these plausible assumptions have all the hallmarks of post hoc rationalizations. They make little theoretical sense, are buttressed by deceptive statistical practices, contradict statements these same researchers have made in the past and do little to advance research and theory on implicit attitudes. We close by considering the vigor with which IAT researchers have dismissed meaningful criticisms of their measure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-409
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume43
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2007

Keywords

  • Discrimination
  • Implicit association test
  • Prejudice
  • Psychometrics
  • Theory testing
  • Validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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