Does discrimination beat association in the IAT? The discrimination-association model reconceived

Luca Stefanutti, Egidio Robusto, Michelangelo Vianello, Pasquale Anselmi, Anna Dalla Rosa, Yoav Bar-Anan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The discrimination-association model (DAM; Stefanutti et al. 2013) disentangles two components underlying the responses to the implicit association test (IAT), which pertain to stimuli discrimination (the strength of the association of the stimuli with their own category) and automatic association (the strength of the association between targets and attributes). The assumption of the DAM that these two components sum into a single process generates critical drawbacks. The present work provides a new formulation of the model, called DAM-4C, in which stimuli discrimination and automatic association are separate, independent, and competing processes. Results of theoretical and simulation studies suggest that the DAM-4C outperforms the DAM. The IAT effect is found to vary with the association rates of the DAM-4C and not with those of the DAM. The parameters of the DAM-4C fitted on data from a Coca-Pepsi IAT are found to account for variance in brand attractiveness, taste preference, and cola choice that is not accounted for by the D score and the diffusion model. In addition, the association rates estimated on data from a Black-White IAT are in line with expectations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1640-1656
Number of pages17
JournalBehavior Research Methods
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Discrimination-association model
  • Implicit Association Test
  • Poisson race model
  • implicit measure
  • response time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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