What is Implicit Association Testing (IAT)?

The IAT measures the strength of associations between concepts (e.g. a brand or product) and a consumer’s evaluation (e.g. good/bad) or stereotypes. This can inform researchers about how a product or brand is unconsciously perceived and can reveal unconscious biases, both positive and negative.

Implicit Association Testing Definition Vision One

How is it different to IRT?

IAT and IRT come from the same family of tests. However, there are some differences. IRT involves measuring reaction time when a participant categorises each individual word (positive or negative) with a brand, e.g. delicious and Cadbury or Lindt. IAT requires you to categorise one item with two category labels on each side which are positive or negative, for e.g., delicious and Lindt or positive; Cadburys or negative. Their task is to sort delicious into the positive category, and if they are strongly associated to Lindt, this should take a shorter reaction time.

How does it work?

IAT evaluates associations between a brand or product and a positively or negatively balanced word. Reaction time is measured for how long it takes to associate a brand or product and a word (positive or negative), with shorter latencies indicating a stronger association between concepts. This data can indicate consumer biases and determine hierarchies of brand or products by analysing the strength of associations between certain concepts, and how different concepts group together in the unconscious mind.

Can it inform us about emotions?

Of course, the IAT measures associations between brand or products and positively or negatively valanced concepts, therefore indicating associations between positive or negative emotions and that brand or product.

Can it be done online?

Yes! Like the IRT, the beauty of this technique is it is quick to develop and administer and can be conducted on anyone with internet access.

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