Do You Really Know What You Believe? Developing the IRAP as a Direct Measure of Implicit Beliefs

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APA Citation: 

Barnes-Holmes, D., Barnes-Holmes, Y., Power, P., Hayden, E., Milne, R., & Stewart, I. (2006). Do you really know what you believe? developing the implicit relational assessment procedure (IRAP) as a direct measure of implicit beliefs. The Irish Psychologist, (32)7, 169-177.

Publication Topic: 
RFT: Empirical
Publication Type: 

Telling people that they do not know what they believe can be a risky business. Imagine, for example, asking an avid Chelsea football supporter which team they prefer, Chelsea or Liverpool? It would be considered very rude, and perhaps a little dangerous in certain contexts, to challenge the answer provided. Humans appear to have a unique ability to access the contents of their own minds and report with relative accuracy what they find there, and woe betide anyone who seriously challenges this notion, particularly in the context of socially or psychologically sensitive issues. Nevertheless, 20th century psychology has indeed challenged this widely held view of the human mind. For example, Nisbett and Wilson (1977) have shown the frailties of introspection; Wegner (2002) has shown how little control we possess over our own thoughts; and Greenwald and Banaji (1995) have highlighted the hidden or unconscious nature of social attitudes. In response to these and other findings, there has been increasing interest in developing procedures and measures that allow the modern researcher to tap into so-called implicit cognition. The current article is concerned with the theoretical and empirical development of one such methodology, the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP), which was designed to measure implicit beliefs and attitudes.

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