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Auteur: Andrew PANTOS

Applying the Implicit Association Test to language attitudes research

Abstract/Résumé: This paper argues for incorporating into language attitudes research certain concepts and methods from the domain of Implicit Social Cognition (Greenwald, et al., 2002), and specifically the understanding that an individual's implicit and explicit attitudes are separable attitude constructs whose assessment requires distinct measurement methodologies. Quantitative support for this argument is founded in a U.S.-based study that measured 165 participants' implicit and explicit attitudes toward foreign- and U.S.-accented speech. Implicit attitudes were measured using an Implicit Association Test (IAT; Greenwald, McGhee & Schwartz, 1998) that incorporated audio cues as experimental stimuli. Explicit attitudes were measured through self-report questionnaires. Participants exhibited a pro-U.S. accent bias on the IAT measure (D = .32, t = 10.42, p < .001), but a pro-foreign accent bias on explicit measures (M = 5.40, SD = 1.90, t = –2.64, p = .01), supporting the conclusion that implicit and explicit attitudes are separable attitude constructs resulting from distinct mental processes. Additionally, the IAT results were found to be predictably inversely correlated with the explicit results (r = .26, p = .03), demonstrating an interaction between the two attitude constructs not attributable to other factors. This study's findings suggest that assessments of language attitudes—traditionally evaluated using only explicit measures (e.g., Cargile & Giles, 1997)—would benefit from also incorporating indirect measures such as the IAT. Theoretical support for using the present research to explain the cognitive processing of language attitudes is found in the Associative-Propositional Evaluation Model (Gawronski & Bodenhausen, 2006). Cargile, A.C. & Giles, H. (1997). Understanding language attitudes: Exploring listener affect and identity. Language and Communication, 17(3), 195-217. Gawronski, B. & Bodenhausen, G.V. (2006). Associative and propositional processes in evaluation: An integrative review of implicit and explicit attitude change. Psychological Bulletin, 132(5), 692-731. Greenwald, A.G., Banaji, M.R., Rudman, L.A., Farnham, S.D., Nosek, B.A. & Mellott, D.S. (2002). A unified theory of implicit attitudes, stereotypes, self-esteem, and self-concept. Psychological Review, 109(1), 3-25. Greenwald, A.G., McGhee, D.E. & Schwartz, J.L. (1998). Measuring individual differences in implicit cognition: The Implicit Association Test. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74(6), 1464-1480.