Measurement of implicit and explicit attitudes toward Barack Obama

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Abstract

The present study evaluated implicit and explicit attitudes toward Barack Obama in a student sample assessed during the 2008 election season. Implicit measurement was based on the Single Category Implicit Association Test (SC-IAT), in which participants categorized photographs of Obama as target objects associated with positive and negative evaluation categories. The relative darkness of Obama's image in the photographs was manipulated to accentuate racial cues. The results showed significant differences in implicit and explicit attitudes toward Obama between self-identified conservative and liberal students, as well as significant relationships between implicit and explicit measures and between implicit measures and modern racist attitudes. A stronger negative associational bias was found for conservative students, but not their liberal counterparts, to darker images of Obama in the implicit association test. The results underscore the importance of taking individual differences into account in measuring implicit responses to target stimuli. The results also support the convergent validity of implicit measures of attitudes toward a prominent political figure, as well as the construct validity of the SC-IAT. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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