Implicit Measure for Yoga Research: Yoga Implicit Association Test

By Ilavarasu, Judu; Rajesh, Sasidharan et al. | International Journal of Yoga, July-December 2014 | Go to article overview

Implicit Measure for Yoga Research: Yoga Implicit Association Test


Ilavarasu, Judu, Rajesh, Sasidharan, Hankey, Alex, International Journal of Yoga


Byline: Judu. Ilavarasu, Sasidharan. Rajesh, Alex. Hankey

Context: The implicit association test (IAT), a new tool for yoga research is presented. Implicit measures could be used in those situations where (1) The construct is difficult to self-report, (2) there is a threat of social desirability. Clinically, we can assess cognitive dissonance by evaluating incongruence between implicit and explicit measures. Explicit preferences are self-reported. Implicit preferences are what we inherently believe, often without our conscious awareness. Aims: The primary objective of this study is to provide a bird's eye view of the field, implicit cognition, with emphasis on the IAT and the secondary objective is to illustrate through an example of our study to develop an implicit tool to assess implicit preference toward yoga. Settings and Design: A total of 5 independent samples of total 69 students undergoing short and long-term yoga courses in a Yoga University were assessed for their implicit and explicit preferences towards yoga. Materials and Methods: The yoga-IAT (Y-IAT), explicit self-rating scale was administered through computers using the Inquisit program by Millisecond Software. Experimental and scoring materials are provided. Statistical Analysis Used: Data were extracted using recommended scoring algorithm and descriptive statistics highlighting basic psychometric properties of Y-IAT are presented along with its congruence with explicit self-measure. Results: A moderate preference toward yoga was detected, with a lower implicit-explicit congruence, reflecting possible confound of social desirability in the self-report of preference toward yoga. Conclusions: Implicit measures may be used in the yoga field to assess constructs, which are difficult to self-report or may have social desirability threat. Y-IAT may be used to evaluate implicit preference toward yoga.

Introduction

Yoga research is indeed a multidisciplinary venture and has adopted tools from various disciplines such as biology, medicine, psychology, psychiatry, sociology, etc. The strength of any field lies in the strength of its methods and measurement tools used. Effects of yoga can be studied at various levels using the various methods. Tools of medicine and psychology are majorly used in yoga research. For self-report of subjective feelings and thoughts questionnaires are chiefly used. However, there are many constructs, which are difficult to self-report and might have influence of social desirability (a voluntary or an involuntary mode of response to project socially desirable). Do I say what I actually think? Am I influenced by my conditioning, unaware of myself? Often people tend to deliberately distort their responses to questionnaires or give the wrong response quite unknowingly. To address such questions, implicit measures were successfully utilized. [sup][1] In this article, we present a tool, extensively used in the west, especially in psychology since last 15 years and which has attained a status of state-of-the-art tool in the field. We propose to review this tool and highlight its utility in the field of yoga, with an example of a study conducted by us. The objective of this paper is not to present a detailed review of the field but to spotlight the most relevant aspect of the field, which can be utilized in yoga research.

Implicit cognition

Implicit cognition is a broad term, which encompasses all those cognitive processes that happen, without any or much awareness about them, but still influence our behaviors. More precisely implicit processes are characterized the process, which happens with a lack of awareness, less cognitive resource, short time and independent of proximal goal. [sup][2] Implicit measures are those, which can measure such influences of implicit processes. Some commonly used related terms are unconscious, automatic, uncontrolled, implicit and subliminal. For an overview of how implicit social cognition functions, the recent book, Banaji et al . …

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