Implicit Attitude Measures
UVA Law Faculty Affiliations
Due to concerns about the willingness and ability of people to report their attitudes accurately in response to direct inquiries, psychologists have developed a number of unobtrusive, or implicit, measures of attitudes. The most popular contemporary implicit measures equate spontaneous responses to stimuli with attitudes about those stimuli. Although these measures have been used to open important new lines of inquiry, they suffer from reliability and construct validity problems and administration limitations. Researchers conducting basic research on attitudes may fruitfully utilize implicit measures as part of a multi-pronged measurement strategy, but researchers seeking to predict behavior from attitudes should continue to rely on explicit measures of attitudes, taking care to minimize reactive bias and to formulate the attitude questions at the same level of specificity as the behavior to be predicted.