Unresolved Problems with the "I", the "A" and the "T": Logical and Psychometric Critique of the Implicit Association Test (IAT)

Fiedler, Klaus; Messner, Claude; Blümke, Matthias (2006). Unresolved Problems with the "I", the "A" and the "T": Logical and Psychometric Critique of the Implicit Association Test (IAT). European Review of Social Psychology, 17(1), pp. 74-147. Psychology Press 10.1080/10463280600681248

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The Implicit Association Test (IAT) had already gained the status of a prominent assessment procedure before its psychometric properties and underlying task structure were understood. The present critique addresses five major problems that arise when the IAT is used for diagnostic inferences: (1) the asymmetry of causal and diagnostic inferences; (2) the viability of the underlying association model; (3) the lack of a testable model underlying IAT-based inferences; (4) the difficulties of interpreting difference scores; and (5) the susceptibility of the IAT to deliberate faking and strategic processing. Based on a theoretical reflection of these issues, and a comprehensive survey of published IAT studies, it is concluded that a number of uncontrolled factors can produce (or reduce) significant IAT scores independently of the personality attribute that is supposed to be captured by the IAT procedure.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Department of Business Management > Institute of Innovation Management > Consumer Behavior
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Social Psychology and Social Neuroscience

UniBE Contributor:

Messner, Claude Mathias and Blümke, Matthias


600 Technology > 650 Management & public relations
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics




Psychology Press




Claude Mathias Messner

Date Deposited:

03 Apr 2014 09:04

Last Modified:

19 Feb 2019 13:32

Publisher DOI:






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