Honest politics: Evaluating candidate perceptions for the 2012 U.S election with the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure


Chad E. Drake, Sam Kramer, Reza Habib, Kelsey Schuler, Lindsay Blankenship, Janna Locke


Mainstream implicit cognition measures such as the Implicit Association Test (IAT) have produced a substantial volume of data on political attitudes. However, the associative basis of most implicit measures entail interpretive limitations that may be avoided with a relatively new measure known as the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP). The IRAP is a measure of arbitrarily applicable relational repertoires based on a functional and contextual view of cognition. The current study used the IRAP to assess relational repertoires among college undergraduates in respect to images of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney presented in conjunction with positive and negative evaluative words. The results showed distinct patterns of bias on the IRAP that correlated with various political self-reports. The IRAP also distinguished self-reported intentions to vote for Obama or Romney. Some of the results revealed patterns that would not be apparent with a comparable IAT. The current study provides a supportive basis for the reliability and convergent validity of the IRAP for measuring implicit perceptions of political candidates.

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