Self-other asymmetries in the perceived validity of the Implicit Association Test.

The Implicit Association Test (IAT) is the most popular instrument in implicit social cognition, with some scholars and practitioners calling for its use in applied settings. Yet, little is known about how people perceive the test’s validity as a measure of their true attitudes toward members of other groups. Four experiments manipulated the desirability of the IAT’s result and whether that result referred to one’s own attitudes or other people’s. Results showed a self-other asymmetry, such that people perceived a desirable IAT result to be more valid when it applied to themselves than to others, whereas the opposite held for undesirable IAT results. A fifth experiment demonstrated that these self-other differences influence how people react to the idea of using the IAT as a personnel selection tool. Experiment 6 tested whether the self-other effect was driven by motivation or expectations, finding evidence for motivated reasoning. All told, the current findings suggest potential barriers to implementing the IAT in applied settings. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)