An investigation of emotional and evaluative implicit associations with police using four versions of the Implicit Association Test

Rikki H. Sargent, Leonard S. Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In two studies (total N = 829), we assessed civilian implicit associations with police using four modified Implicit Association Tests (IAT). Across studies and IATs, individuals harbored stronger negative implicit associations (associating police with fear/bad) than positive implicit associations (associating police with safety/good). The predictive validity of the implicit associations and magnitude of D scores varied across IAT. In Study 1, the IATs involving categorization of police-related (vs. everyday) symbols were most sensitive, but the versions involving categorization of police (vs. civilian) models provided more evidence for predictive validity. In Study 2, the IAT involving categorization of emotional words (safety/fear) was most sensitive, but the version involving categorization of evaluative words (good/bad) provided more evidence for predictive validity. In both studies, we also assessed individual differences (race, political affiliation) in implicit associations. The findings prompt the need to further examine the underlying cognitive components of civilian attitudes toward police and emphasize the importance of developing several IATs when assessing implicit attitudes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Social Psychology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • applied psychology
  • attitudes
  • Implicit association
  • implicit association test
  • police officers
  • police-civilian relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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