Awareness of implicit attitudes

Adam Hahn, Charles M. Judd, Holen K. Hirsh, Irene V. Blair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

190 Citations (SciVal)


Research on implicit attitudes has raised questions about how well people know their own attitudes. Most research on this question has focused on the correspondence between measures of implicit attitudes and measures of explicit attitudes, with low correspondence interpreted as showing that people have little awareness of their implicit attitudes. We took a different approach and directly asked participants to predict their results on upcoming Implicit Association Test (IAT) measures of implicit attitudes toward 5 social groups. We found that participants were surprisingly accurate in their predictions. Across 4 studies, predictions were accurate regardless of whether implicit attitudes were described as true attitudes or culturally learned associations (Studies 1 and 2), regardless of whether predictions were made as specific response patterns (Study 1) or as conceptual responses (Studies 2-4), and regardless of how much experience or explanation participants received before making their predictions (Study 4). Study 3 further suggested that participants' predictions reflected unique insight into their own implicit responses, beyond intuitions about how people in general might respond. Prediction accuracy occurred despite generally low correspondence between implicit and explicit measures of attitudes, as found in prior research. Altogether, the research findings cast doubt on the belief that attitudes or evaluations measured by the IAT necessarily reflect unconscious attitudes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1369-1392
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: General
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


  • IAT
  • Implicit attitudes
  • Introspection
  • Racial bias
  • Unconscious

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology(all)
  • Developmental Neuroscience


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