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The implicit-association test (IAT) is an assessment intended to detect subconscious associations between mental representations of objects (concepts) in memory. Its best-known application is the assessment of implicit stereotypes held by test subjects, such as associations between particular racial categories and stereotypes about those groups. The test has been applied to a variety of belief associations, such as those involving racial groups, gender, sexuality, age, and religion but also the self-esteem, political views, and predictions of the test taker. The implicit-association test is the subject of significant academic and popular debate regarding its validity, reliability, and usefulness in assessing implicit bias.
The IAT was introduced in the scientific literature in 1998 by Anthony Greenwald, Debbie McGhee, and Jordan Schwartz. The IAT is now widely used in social psychology research and, to some extent, in clinical, cognitive, and developmental psychology research. More recently, the IAT has been used as an assessment in implicit bias trainings, which aim to reduce the unconscious bias and discriminatory behavior of participants.
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