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Free Associations as a Measure of Stable Implicit Attitudes


Correspondence to: Konrad Schnabel, Department of Psychology, University of Potsdam, Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 24–25, 14476 Potsdam, Germany



Two studies explored the psychometric properties of free association methods for the assessment of attitudes. Even though the stability of the actual associations was rather low, psychometric properties of the valence estimates of the free associations were highly satisfactory. Valence estimates of associations were provided by independent judges who rated the valence of the associations that were generated by participants. Valence estimates of the associations showed satisfactory internal consistencies and retest reliabilities over three weeks. Additionally, valence estimates of the associations were significantly and independently related to both explicit self-reported attitudes and implicit attitudes that were assessed with an Ossi–Wessi Implicit Association Test. Free association methods represent a useful complement to the family of implicit measures and are especially suitable for the assessment of non-relative attitudes towards single attitude objects. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.