Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Lebenswissen­schaftliche Fakultät - Institut für Psychologie

The underlying mechanisms of the Affect Misattribution Procedure

This project investigates the underlying mechanisms of the Affect Misattribution Procedure (AMP; Payne et al., 2005) with the use of experimental designs able to create dissociations between affective and semantic processes. The results imply that the AMP could be used to measure constructs other than implicit attitudes.

Unlike other variants of affective priming paradigms (e.g., Fazio, Sanbonmatsu, Powell, & Kardes, 1986; Murphy & Zajonc, 1993) the AMP not only produces strong and robust effects, but also has good psychometric properties (internal consistency: .69 < ? < .90; Payne et al., 1995; Payne, Burkley, & Stokes, 2008). Among the many latency-based indirect measures, only the Implicit Association Test (IAT, Greenwald, McGhee, & Schwartz, 1998) reaches this level of reliability. Consequently, the AMP quickly became popular among social cognition researchers who were interested in using a second, conceptually different, measure of implicit attitudes. What is less clear are the underlying processes of the AMP. To test three different theoretical accounts for the AMP effect: affect priming, affect misattribution, and semantic priming, I created a modified version of the Affect Misattribution Procedure (AMP; Payne et al., 2005). Three studies showed consistent evidence that the AMP effect was mediated by semantic priming (Blaison, Imhoff, Hess, & Banse, 2010). At variance with the theoretical explanation by Payne and colleagues, evidence for an affect-driven process was less consistent as only a weak effect of affect priming, and no significant effect of affect misattribution emerged. Overall, the results are compatible with a semantic account of AMP effects. This interpretation implies that the scope of application of the AMP in implicit social cognition research may be much broader than previously assumed.