The Implicit Association Test was developed as a research tool for social psychology, including clinical, cognitive, and developmental psychology. Test authors Anthony Greenwald, Debbie McGee, and Jordan Schwartz first introduced the test in 1998 (Soyyilmaz, 2020). Since then, it was used in social psychology for testing patients. The test is based on understanding the concept of implicit attitudes, or assessments proceeding from an implicit understanding of a subject or object. This paper aims to discuss whether the Implicit Association Test is a valid way of determining implicit attitudes.
Implicit attitudes are important in psychology as they can influence the perception of reality by the subject. The patient may have negative or positive attitudes, depending on personal experience. At the same time, these attitudes can mediate favorable or unfavorable feelings, modifying them. Feelings can usually be expressed towards social objects, they have an effect on human behavior, and the person is not aware of this influence. Therefore, psychotherapists use the Implicit Association Test to identify associative connections between objects and subjects in the perceptions and memories of patients. Psychotherapists can also test people for their reactions to social phenomena and tendencies, such as associations associated with gender, age, religion, self-esteem, sexuality, and other characteristics. Although scientists continue to debate the test’s validity, it helped psychologists teach patients to reduce social bias. The test is also used to identify and reduce discriminatory behavior in patients.
Thus, the validity of the Implicit Association Test was discussed, concerning determining the implicit attitudes. This test is widely used in collective psychological practice to reduce the propensity of patients to discriminate behavior. The test also allows determining implicit associations, not perceived by the patient conscientiously, concerning subjects and objects. These associations can be positive or negative and change the patient’s perception of social and personal reality.
Soyyilmaz, D. (2020). The Implicit Association Test.