Clarifying the role of the “other” category in the self-esteem IAT

Abstract

A. Karpinski (2004) recently criticized Implicit Association Test (IAT) measures of self-esteem, arguing that their measurements of self-associations are compromised by their contrasting self with a putatively extremely negative second category, the nonspecific other. The present data show, to the contrary, that the nonspecific other category in the self-esteem IAT is near neutral in valence. Validity of the self-esteem IAT is most appropriately assessed by examining its correlations with conceptually related measures. That has been done in several previous studies that are reviewed here. The nonspecific other category is only one of several choices for representing the concept of other in self-esteem IATs. Choice of the appropriate other category to contrast with self in self-esteem IATs should be guided by the needs of the research question being addressed.

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