Malleability of Attitudes or Malleability of the IAT?
In the current set of experiments, we establish, and explore the consequences of, the imprecision that characterizes the attribute response labels typically employed in the Implicit Association Test (IAT). In Experiment 1, we demonstrate the malleability of the IAT, as conventionally implemented. IAT scores are shown to be influenced by perspective mindsets induced by an unrelated preceding task. Then, we explore how the malleability of the IAT can lead to the inference that attitude change has occurred even when there is very good reason to believe it has not (Experiment 2), and conversely, how it can obscure the detection of attitude change when such change is indeed likely to have occurred (Experiment 3). We provide conceptual explanations for these discrepancies and suggest methodological improvements to enhance the specificity of IAT measures.