A multitrait-multimethod validation of the Implicit Association Test: implicit and explicit attitudes are related but distinct constructs

Exp Psychol. 2007;54(1):14-29. doi: 10.1027/1618-3169.54.1.14.


Recent theoretical and methodological innovations suggest a distinction between implicit and explicit evaluations. We applied Campbell and Fiske's (1959) classic multitrait-multimethod design precepts to test the construct validity of implicit attitudes as measured by the Implicit Association Test (IAT). Participants (N = 287) were measured on both self-report and IAT for up to seven attitude domains. Through a sequence of latent-variable structural models, systematic method variance was distinguished from attitude variance, and a correlated two-factors-per-attitude model (implicit and explicit factors) was superior to a single-factor-per-attitude specification. That is, despite sometimes strong relations between implicit and explicit attitude factors, collapsing their indicators into a single attitude factor resulted in relatively inferior model fit. We conclude that these implicit and explicit measures assess related but distinct attitude constructs. This provides a basis for, but does not distinguish between, dual-process and dual-representation theories that account for the distinctions between constructs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Association Learning*
  • Attitude*
  • Awareness*
  • Discrimination Learning
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Models, Structural
  • Personal Construct Theory
  • Personality Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Reaction Time
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Set, Psychology*
  • Social Perception*
  • Statistics as Topic