Awareness and Calibration: The Role of Descriptive Norms and Social Desirability in Accurate IAT Score Predictions of Food Items vs. Social Groups

Alexandra Goedderz, Adam Hahn

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Extending research that people are able to predict the patterns of their social group biases on Implicit Association Tests (IATs), we let participants predict and complete IATs toward five different food item pairs and compared the results to the social-groups domain. Participants predicted the patterns of their IAT scores with similar accuracy in both domains, suggesting similar internal awareness (evidenced by comparable within-subjects correlations), even though food evaluations followed less descriptively-normative patterns. At the same time, participants were better-calibrated in communicating their evaluations in the domain of food than social groups (evidenced by higher between-subjects correlations). This discrepancy may partly stem from participants' tendency to refrain from using harsh labels when predicting social group biases, despite their demonstrated awareness of them: IAT scores predicted as "moderate" or "strong" for food preferences tended to be labeled "mild" for social groups. Discussion centers on the importance of distinguishing between awareness and calibration.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Early online date3 Jun 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Jun 2024

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