Test–Retest Reliability and Predictive Validity of the Implicit Association Test in Children

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Abstract

The Implicit Association Test (IAT) is increasingly used in developmental research despite minimal evidence of whether children’s IAT scores are reliable across time or predictive of behavior. When test–retest reliability and predictive validity have been assessed, the results have been mixed, and because these studies have differed on many factors simultaneously (lag-time between testing administrations, domain, etc.), it is difficult to discern what factors may explain variability in existing test–retest reliability and predictive validity estimates. Across five studies (total N = 519; ages 6- to 11-years-old), we manipulated two factors that have varied in previous developmental research—lag-time and domain. An internal meta-analysis of these studies revealed that, across three different methods of analyzing the data, mean test–retest (rs of .48, .38, and .34) and predictive validity (rs of .46, .20, and .10) effect sizes were significantly greater than zero. While lag-time did not moderate the magnitude of test–retest coefficients, whether we observed domain differences in test–retest reliability and predictive validity estimates was contingent on other factors, such as how we scored the IAT or whether we included estimates from a unique sample (i.e., a sample containing gender typical and gender diverse children). Recommendations are made for developmental researchers that utilize the IAT in their research.

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