TITLE

Cognitive Inertia and the Implicit Association Test

AUTHOR(S)
Messner, Claude; Vosgerau, Joachim
PUB. DATE
April 2010
SOURCE
Journal of Marketing Research (JMR);Apr2010, Vol. 47 Issue 2, p374
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
The authors review the implicit association test (IAT), its use in marketing, and the methodology and validity issues that surround it. They focus on a validity problem that has not been investigated previously, namely, the impact of cognitive inertia on IAT effects. Cognitive inertia refers to the difficulty in switching from one categorization rule to another, which causes IAT effects to depend on the order of administration of the two IAT blocks. In Study 1, the authors observe an IAT effect when the compatible block precedes the incompatible block but not when it follows the incompatible block. In Studies 2 and 3, the IAT effect changes its sign when the order of the blocks reverses. Cognitive inertia distorts individual IAT scores and diminishes the correlations between IAT scores and predictor variables when the block order is counterbalanced between subjects. Study 4 shows that counterbalancing the block order repeatedly within subjects can eliminate cognitive inertia effects on the individual level. The authors conclude that researchers should either interpret IAT scores at the aggregate level or, if individual IAT scores are of interest, counterbalance the block order repeatedly within subjects.
ACCESSION #
48445024

 

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