A Diffusion Model Approach for Understanding the Impact of 17 Interventions on the Race Implicit Association Test

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Description: Performance on implicit measures reflects construct-specific and non-construct-specific processes. This creates an interpretive issue for understanding interventions to change implicit measures: change in performance could reflect changes in the constructs-of-interest or changes in other mental processes. We re-analyzed data from six studies (N = 23,342) to examine the process-level effects of 17 interventions and one sham intervention to change race Implicit Association Test (IAT) performance. Diffusion models decompose overall IAT performance (D-scores) into construct-specific (ease of decision-making), and non-construct-specific processes (speed-accuracy tradeoffs, non-decision-related processes like motor execution). Interventions that effectively reduced D-scores changed ease of decision-making on compatible and incompatible trials. They also eliminated differences in speed-accuracy tradeoffs between compatible and incompatible trials. Non-decision-related processes were impacted by two interventions only. There was little evidence that interventions had any long-term effects. These findings highlight the value of diffusion modeling for understanding the mechanisms by which interventions affect implicit measure performance.


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