Gaining control over responses to implicit attitude tests: Implementation intentions engender fast responses on attitude-incongruent trials

Authors


Thomas Webb or Paschal Sheeran, Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TP, UK (e-mail: t.webb@sheffield.ac.uk; p.sheeran@sheffield.ac.uk).

Abstract

The present research investigated whether forming implementation intentions could promote fast responses to attitude-incongruent associations (e.g., woman-manager) and thereby modify scores on popular implicit measures of attitude. Expt 1 used the Implicit Association Test (IAT) to measure associations between gender and science versus liberal arts. Planning to associate women with science engendered fast responses to this category–attribute pairing and rendered summary scores more neutral compared to standard IAT instructions. Expt 2 demonstrated that forming egalitarian goal intentions is not sufficient to produce these effects. Expt 3 extended these findings to a different measure of implicit attitude (the Go/No–Go Association Task) and a different stereotypical association (Muslims–terrorism). In Expt 4, managers who planned to associate women with superordinate positions showed more neutral IAT scores relative to non-planners and effects were maintained 3 weeks later. In sum, implementation intentions enable people to gain control over implicit attitude responses.

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