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Keywords:

  • implicit personality self-concept;
  • semantic associations;
  • valence associations;
  • Big Five

Abstract

Implicit Association Tests (IATs) often reveal strong associations of self with positive rather than negative attributes. This poses a problem in using the IAT to measure associations involving traits with either positive or negative evaluative content. In two studies, we employed non-bipolar but evaluatively balanced Big Five traits as attribute contrasts and explored correlations of IATs with positive (e.g. sociable vs. conscientious) or negative (e.g. reserved vs. chaotic) attributes. Results showed (a) satisfactory internal consistencies for all IATs, (b) explicit–explicit and implicit–implicit correlations that were moderate to high and comparable in strength after both were corrected for attenuation and (c) better model fit for latent variable models that linked the implicit and explicit measures to distinct latent factors rather to the same factor. Together, the results suggest that IATs can validly assess the semantic aspect of trait self-concepts and that implicit and explicit self-representations are, although correlated, also distinct constructs. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.