Implicit measures in social cognition. research: their meaning and use

Annu Rev Psychol. 2003:54:297-327. doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.54.101601.145225. Epub 2002 Jun 10.


Behavioral scientists have long sought measures of important psychological constructs that avoid response biases and other problems associated with direct reports. Recently, a large number of such indirect, or "implicit," measures have emerged. We review research that has utilized these measures across several domains, including attitudes, self-esteem, and stereotypes, and discuss their predictive validity, their interrelations, and the mechanisms presumably underlying their operation. Special attention is devoted to various priming measures and the Implicit Association Test, largely due to their prevalence in the literature. We also attempt to clarify several unresolved theoretical and empirical issues concerning implicit measures, including the nature of the underlying constructs they purport to measure, the conditions under which they are most likely to relate to explicit measures, the kinds of behavior each measure is likely to predict, their sensitivity to context, and the construct's potential for change.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude
  • Awareness*
  • Black People / psychology
  • Humans
  • Memory
  • Personality Tests
  • Race Relations
  • Self Concept
  • Social Behavior*
  • Social Identification
  • Social Perception*
  • Stereotyping
  • White People / psychology