Implicit Association Testing

Article

We know what is on your customers’ mind

Using online Implicit Association Testing at the Deloitte Neuroscience Institute

People do not always communicate their true beliefs, associations and behaviors because they may be unwilling to share personal attitudes with strangers or are embarrassed by their behavior or think that their associations are not socially accepted. In fact, people might purposely hide something when being tested or unknowingly give wrong answers. The Implicit Association Test (IAT) reveals implicit beliefs and attitudes that respondents usually do not report in traditional explicit testing methods like interviews and surveys.

The results of the IAT reveal unconscious customer preferences, e.g. regarding products, brands or marketing messages. With this, we can help our clients to better understand what their customers really want and to adapt their products, their brand image and their marketing messages accordingly. In addition, the IAT is an online test that takes about 10-15 minutes per participant and can be easily scaled to all regions of the world.

Originating in social psychology, the method of Implicit Association Testing was introduced in the late 20th century for measuring implicit attitudes of respondents. In general, the IAT measures the strength in association between concepts (e.g., women, men), evaluations (e.g., good, bad) and stereotypes (e.g., sensitive, unemotional). The underlying rational is that it is easier to give a fast response when individuals subconsciously associate items with each other.

During the test, respondents are asked to quickly sort words or images into two categories, by either pressing the key “e” on the left hand side or pressing the key “i” on the right hand side of the computer keyboard. The sorting is repeated with switched keyboard keys (i.e. concept that was initially on “e” key is now on “i” key and vice versa) in order to eliminate any influence from participants’ handedness

Explore further methods used by the Neuroscience Institute: