A test of the salience asymmetry interpretation of the alcohol-IAT

Exp Psychol. 2006;53(4):292-300. doi: 10.1027/1618-3169.53.4.292.


Abstract. K. Rothermund and D. Wentura (2004) showed how Figure-Ground (FG) asymmetries produce effects on the Implicit Association Task (IAT), independent of associations. Here, the FG account was tested for the robust finding that drinkers show a negative alcohol-IAT effect while being positive on explicit measures. FG asymmetries were manipulated through familiarity of alcohol-IAT target categories and were assessed with visual search tasks. Supporting the FG account, the familiarity manipulation influenced the IAT effect in the expected direction, and the IAT effect correlated with FG asymmetries. Contrary to the FG account, however, the IAT effect was not reversed, and IAT effects were predicted by alcohol use but not by FG asymmetries. Hence, the FG account only partly explains the negative alcohol-IAT effect.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcoholic Beverages*
  • Alcoholism / psychology*
  • Association Learning*
  • Carbonated Beverages*
  • Discrimination Learning
  • Female
  • Field Dependence-Independence*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Recall
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Reaction Time
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Semantics
  • Set, Psychology*