Exaggeration is Harder Than Understatement, but Practice Makes Perfect!

Jessica Röhner, Michela Schröder-Abé, Astrid Schütz
  • Experimental Psychology (formerly Zeitschrift für Experimentelle Psychologie), January 2011, Hogrefe Publishing Group
  • DOI: 10.1027/1618-3169/a000114

Faking on the Implicit Association Test (IAT)

Photo by Nikolay Tarashchenko on Unsplash

Photo by Nikolay Tarashchenko on Unsplash

What is it about?

The article deals with the fakeability of the Implicit Association Test (IAT). A complex interplay of factors influencing faking success is suggested.

Why is it important?

The topic of this research is very timely and relevant as faking can be a serious problem in psychological assessment. The Implicit Association Test (IAT) is often assumed to be robust against faking, but this assumption has not been fully tested. Research regarding the fakeability of IATs so far has revealed very inconsistent results. There is no satisfactory answer to the question: Under which conditions is faking possible? In this study we investigated the influence of faking direction (i.e., faking higher or lower scores), type of instructions (i.e., faking with or without a recommended strategy on how to fake the IAT), practice in faking the IAT, and baseline scores in implicit self-esteem on the fakeability of a Self-Esteem IAT. These factors have not yet been studied simultaneously in a single study. Therefore, one cannot draw conclusions about the preconditions under which faking is possible. Furthermore, practice effects through repeated faking attempts have not been studied at all. We argue, however, that in real life, people for whom there is a lot at stake would practice multiple times to achieve a good result. As information on the IAT is freely available on the internet, there is an actual risk that participants do so. Last but not least, although self-esteem is an essential and strongly researched issue, our study is the first regarding the fakeability of a Self-Esteem IAT. Our results show that successful faking is possible under certain conditions and that practice makes perfect.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1027/1618-3169/a000114

The following have contributed to this page: Dr Jessica Röhner