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Measuring the Immeasurable: Or "Could Abraham Lincoln Take the Implicit Association Test?"

Arina K. Bones and Navin R. Johnson
Perspectives on Psychological Science
Vol. 2, No. 4 (Dec., 2007), pp. 406-411
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40212218
Page Count: 6
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Measuring the Immeasurable: Or "Could Abraham Lincoln Take the Implicit Association Test?"
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Abstract

With the Association for Psychological Science's new ethical standards requiring that all research studies include an Implicit Association Test (IAT), forecasters predict that the population of new participants available to take IATs will expire by the year 2023. Shrill, doomsday proposals from IAT experts involve rationing the precious pool of remaining IAT novices or other naive strategies. These solutions demonstrate rigid, scientific thinking, with a distinct lack of the creative flair that makes psychology stand apart from the real sciences. Building on our prior experience of adapting the IAT for measuring infant cognition and rooting out aliens among us, we demonstrate that new pools of participant resources--the unborn and passed on--are available, if we take the time to develop the methods to exploit them. Two studies illustrate some of the methodological challenges and opportunities that must be met in order to make better use of the new populations to keep the IAT juggernaut on its path of global (and interstellar) domination.

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