Academic journal article North American Journal of Psychology

Negative Mood Impacts the Relationship between Explicit and Implicit Age-Related Attitudes

Academic journal article North American Journal of Psychology

Negative Mood Impacts the Relationship between Explicit and Implicit Age-Related Attitudes

Article excerpt

Implicit attitudes are automatic, unconscious preferences that do not require explicit introspection to be measured (Fazio et al., 1986; Greenwald & Banaji, 1995; Nosek et al., 2005). They may either be below conscious abilities to retrieve, similar to a forgotten memory, or be in some way undesirable for an individual to want to share openly, such as socially unacceptable views or contradictions to one's schemas or publicly-shared beliefs (Greenwald & Banaji, 1995; Nosek et al., 2007a). Nosek and colleagues (2007a) further stated that retrieval of implicit attitudes does not require conscious reflection but can be achieved without deliberate intention. Explicit attitudes, on the other hand, are those beliefs of which we are both consciously aware and willing to share with others. Commonly measured through self-report, these are attitudes which we propose to hold as true and find socially allowable for others to know. Because implicit and explicit attitudes may not always align, it is important to explore implicit attitudes to uncover more genuine assessments of preferences. Further, examining the underlying differences between explicit and implicit reporting provides useful information on which factors contribute to this discrepancy. Evidence exists of both convergent and discriminant validity between implicit and explicit attitudes (Nosek & Smyth, 2007). Research has not only shown that explicit attitudes do not fully predict or explain implicit attitudes, but also that other factors--such as social desirability, self-preservation, and affect--may be involved in explaining explicit and implicit attitudes as related but distinct constructs (Cherry et al., 2015; Nosek et al., 2007b).

The Implicit Association Test (IAT; Greenwald et al., 1998) has become a commonly used method of measuring an individual's implicit preferences based on their association of a category (e.g., black people, obese people) with a judgment (e.g., bad, lazy) toward numerous topics spanning social, political, and personal realms. In a computerized task, individuals are asked to sort words or images into the appropriate category on the screen by using corresponding keystrokes that match the displayed location of the category. The categories are presented paired with another category in blocks of congruent and incongruent pairings (e.g., normal weight/obese body images and positive/negative words would congruently be paired as normal weight images with good words and obese images with bad words, and incongruently paired with the weight categories switched). The difference in the reaction time and accuracy at which an individual responds on congruent and incongruent blocks is calculated into a relative preference score, which is thought to operationalize implicit attitudes toward the category, object, or peoples covered in that test. The basis of this logic is that strongly associated words will be more quickly categorized (as shown through reaction times) when they are congruently paired (e.g., share the same response key) as opposed to when they are incongruently paired (Coates & Campbell, 2010). IATs have been used extensively in research to measure implicit attitudes on gender roles, political alignments, sexual orientations, weight, race, disability biases and stigma, and other topics (e.g., Greenwald et al., 1998; Greenwald & Nosek, 2001; Hummert et al., 2002; Wang et al., 2004).

Age-related IATs allow one to ascertain implicit judgments towards young and old adults and to compare these ratings with explicit agerelated measures (e.g., Greenwald et al., 2003; Nosek et al., 2002). Research using age IATs has shown a general implicit preference for young over old, with varying levels of association with explicit measures of ageism and old age beliefs (Greenwald et al., 2003; Hummert et al., 2002; Mingzheng, 2005; Nosek et al., 2002; Nosek et al., 2007a). Specifically, findings demonstrate that both old and young participants, male and female, across ethnicities measured, tend to show a negative implicit attitude towards the old, that is, a preference favoring the young (Levy & Banaji, 2002; Nosek et al. …

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