Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

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Symposium #20
You're Voting for WHO?! Examining Implicit Biases, Explicit Attitudes, and Voting Intentions
Saturday, May 27, 2017
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Hyatt Regency, Mineral Hall A-C
Area: CSS; Domain: Translational
Chair: Melissa Morgan Miller (University of Mississippi)

The Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) was created to measure derived relational responding (i.e., response bias) especially toward socially-charged stimuli. The IRAP measures latency between a) various stimulus pairing onsets and b) responses to those pairings via rules given to participants. IRAP response allocations are particularly interesting when they do not match self-report verbal descriptions of preference; such differences may indicate inconsistencies between implicit and explicit biases. Drake et al. (2015) examined response-time biases for the 2012 presidential election and found IRAP scores correlated with self-reports. However, unbalanced representation of political affiliation was a limitation regarding the results. The studies presented herein pursued a more balanced representation of political affiliation, while examining three different stimulus pairings that were potentially relevant to the 2016 election: presidential candidate names (Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton), socioeconomic status (rich people and poor people), and gender (man and woman). These stimuli were paired with a good or bad evaluative word during each trial. Correlations between IRAP and self-report data were examined. Implications for basic research with the IRAP, as well as the social significance of the findings, will be discussed.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): IRAP, political attitudes, RFT

Considering the Lesser of Two Perceived Evils: Comparing Implicit and Explicit Political Candidate Evaluations

(Basic Research)
RYAN KIMBALL (Southern Illinois University), Lisa Logterman (Southern Illinois University), Karen Kate Kellum (University of Mississippi), Chad Drake (Southern Illinois University)

The Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) is a latency-based behavioral measure of “natural verbal relations” (Barnes-Holmes, Hayden, & Barnes-Holmes, 2008). These natural verbal relations include what some call implicit biases – quick responses which are influenced by one’s conditioning history and yet may differ from one’s own explicit report. The IRAP bears an advantage over other implicit measures in that it may assess more specific relations among stimulus combinations than other measures. For example, the IRAP has been used to demonstrate that negative evaluations of candidates and not just positive evaluations factor into voting intentions (Drake et al., 2015). The 2016 presidential election is noteworthy due to substantially negative views of each candidate, even among voters from their respective political parties. Furthermore, past studies of political attitudes with implicit measures have shown a high degree of convergence with self-report. The current study utilized data provided by college undergraduates from two universities in the mid-western and southern United States. Although self-reports revealed negative and/or neutral sentiment toward both candidates, the IRAP generally revealed positive and/or neutral effects and little evidence of convergence with self-report. These data will be discussed in light of methodological considerations as well as future directions in IRAP research.

Examining the Potential Role of Socioeconomic Status Biases on Perception of Political Candidates
(Applied Research)
HUNTER KYLE SUDDUTH (University of Mississippi), Emmie Hebert (University of Mississippi), Karen Kate Kellum (University of Mississippi), Ryan Kimball (Southern Illinois University), Chad Drake (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: Voting may be influenced by the economic climate as well as the voter’s individual socioeconomic status (SES). Furthermore, the organization of political parties in the United States seems to be driven in part by ideological differences in respect to policies that impact individual, local, and national economies. The presidential campaigns of 2016 were marked by substantive differences between the mainstream candidates in regard to economic and financial issues. The current study sought to utilize a behavioral task known as the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) in the assessment of SES perceptions and their possible influence over voting intentions. Undergraduate college students were recruited from universities in the Southern and Midwestern United States. An IRAP assessed evaluative perceptions of wealthy and impoverished people, while a collection of self-reports assessed attitudes regarding poverty, political ideology, and evaluations of the presidential candidates. The results are suggestive of marginal differences between political affiliations for implicit perceptions of wealth and poverty, with larger differences observed among self-report measures. Furthermore, evaluative biases with the IRAP were substantial but not entirely consistent with many other studies of social cognition. Implicit perceptions of SES may be a fruitful focus of future IRAP research.
She Would Not Be My First Choice: Implicit Gender Biases and Political Perceptions
(Applied Research)
KAIL H. SEYMOUR (Southern Illinois University), Danette Abernathy (Southern Illinois University), Ryan Kimball (Southern Illinois University), Karen Kate Kellum (University of Mississippi), Chad Drake (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: Where political and sexual attitudes intersect, controversy often arises. The current study examined the relationship among a) implicit gender biases in respect to leadership b) explicit political biases and c) explicit gender biases. Participants completed Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) trials to examine implicit bias toward word pairings. In each trial, the word Woman or Man was paired with a synonym for Leader or Follower. Participants were given a rule instructing how to respond (i.e., True or False) to the four trial types (Woman:Leader, Man:Leader, Woman:Follower, and Man:Follower) in the first block of trials. Following the first block of trials, the first rule given (e.g., Respond as if Women are Leaders and Men are Followers) was reversed to complete the IRAP block pair. Self-report measures were also administered to gather data on explicit political and gender biases, as well as basic demographics. Participants were recruited from an introductory psychology class. They were quasi-randomly assigned to receive either the implicit procedure or the self-report measures first to counterbalance for potential order effects. IRAP data suggest comparable implicit gender biases across political affiliations yet noteworthy differences across IRAP trial-types. Correlations between explicit and implicit bias measures will also be discussed.



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