Pay attention! Attention to the primes increases attitude assessment accuracy

Joseph P. Simmons, Deborah A. Prentice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


We demonstrate that an oft-used indirect attitude assessment technique-the attitude activation paradigm-accurately assesses attitudes only when participants attend to the prime stimuli during the attitude activation task. Attitude activation attitudes toward obviously valenced words (e.g., torture, liberty) were more sensitive to attitude valence and extremity when participants were required to attend to the prime words than when they attended to a competing stimulus. As a result, we observed a significantly stronger correlation between attitude activation attitudes and a direct, self-report attitude measure when participants attended to the primes than when they ignored them. We conclude that failing to require participants to attend to the primes during the attitude activation task results in a flawed measurement, which could lead researchers to underestimate relations between the attitude activation measure and direct, self-report attitude measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)784-791
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Affective priming
  • Attitude activation
  • Attitude measurement
  • Automatic evaluation
  • Bona fide pipeline
  • Evaluative priming
  • Implicit attitudes
  • Indirect measurement


Dive into the research topics of 'Pay attention! Attention to the primes increases attitude assessment accuracy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this