Research using unipolar Implicit Association Tests (IATs) demonstrated that positive but not negative implicit alcohol associations are related to drinking behavior. However, the relative nature of the IAT with respect to target concepts (i.e., alcohol vs. soft drinks) obscures the interpretation of IAT scores and their relationship to behavior. Here, results with unipolar alcohol vs. soft drinks IATs were compared to results with unipolar Single Target IATs (ST-IAT) for alcohol alone. As expected, positive implicit alcohol associations assessed with both the alcohol-soft drinks IAT and the alcohol ST-IAT were related to alcohol use. In contrast, negative implicit associations with alcohol, whether they were assessed with alcohol-soft drinks IAT or the alcohol ST-IAT, showed no relationship with drinking behavior. Importantly, the alcohol-soft drinks IAT also predicted alcohol use above the variance explained by explicit alcohol-related cognitions, demonstrating that positive implicit associations with alcohol predict unique variance in drinking behavior.
Houben, K. M. P. I., & Wiers, R. W. H. J. (2008). Implicitly positive about alcohol? Implicit positive associations predict drinking behavior. Addictive Behaviors, 33(8), 979-986. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2008.03.002