Background Information

Psychologists understand that people may not say what's on their minds either because they are unwilling or because they are unable to do so. For example, if asked "How much do you smoke?" a smoker who smokes 4 packs a day may purposely report smoking only 2 packs a day because they are embarrassed to admit the correct number. Or, the smoker may simply not answer the question, regarding it as a private matter. (These are examples of being unwilling to report a known answer.) But it is also possible that a smoker who smokes 4 packs a day may report smoking only 2 packs because they honestly believe they only smoke about 2 packs a day. (Unknowingly giving an incorrect answer is sometimes called self-deception; this illustrates being unable to give the desired answer.)

The unwilling-unable distinction is like the difference between purposely hiding something from others and unconsciously hiding something from yourself. Implicit measures, such as the Implicit Association Test, are designed to help get around both of these. Implicit measures assess implicit attitudes, identities, and beliefs that people are either unwilling or unable to report. Sometimes they are closely aligned with people’s self-reported evaluations, but at other times they are quite distinct.

General Information

Understanding and interpreting results
Avoid misuse of these tests
Answers to frequently asked questions about the PIH tests
A Brief Note about the Self-Harm IATs

More about the IAT and Project Implicit

Visual summaries of some of our findings
Bibliography of relevant research
Project Implicit's Information website
Project Implicit's main site
Project Implicit research

Scientists' webpages

Bethany Teachman
Matthew Nock
Tony Greenwald
Jennifer Howell
Kristen Lindgren

If you have any unanswered questions about the tests, please feel free to email us.