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Abstract

Over the last decade, a new class of indirect measurement procedures has become increasingly popular in many areas of psychology. However, these implicit measures have also sparked controversies about the nature of the constructs they assess. One controversy has been stimulated by the question of whether some implicit measures (or implicit measures in general) assess extra-personal rather than personal associations. We argue that, despite empirical and methodological advances stimulated by this debate, researchers have not sufficiently addressed the conceptual question of how to define extra-personal in contrast to personal associations. Based on a review of possible definitions, we argue that some definitions render the controversy obsolete, whereas others imply fundamentally different empirical and methodological questions. As an alternative to defining personal and extra-personal associations in an objective sense, we suggest an empirical approach that investigates the meta-cognitive inferences that make a given association subjectively personal or extra-personal for the individual.