2 Theory


The first sections of the Theory chapter are devoted to the theoretical conceptualization of the explicit and the implicit personality self-concept. Following this, different indirect measures are discussed, and the Implicit Association Tests are presented in detail. The final section deals with the personality traits of shyness, anxiousness, and angriness that were assessed in the present studies.

2.1  Explicit and Implicit Personality Self-Concept


Individuals process information in two different ways (e.g., Strack & Deutsch, in press). For instance, a person may feel optimistic about her or his life deliberately as a way of positive thinking or automatically due to positive bias. Deliberate thinking and automatic bias, however, differ with respect to how information is processed and how information is made available. In one way, information is processed reflectively, and is accessible through introspection. In the other way, information is processed impulsively, and is accessible only indirectly. The deliberate and the automatic way may be assigned to different systems of information processing, that is, the Reflective and the Impulsive System (Strack & Deutsch, in press). To differentiate between the information representations of both systems at the construct level, representations in the Reflective System are labeled as explicit representations, and representations in the Impulsive System as implicit representations. Generally, this work deals with the differences and similarities between explicit and implicit representations.

Specifically, the goal of this work is to study explicit and implicit representations of the personality self-concept. The personality self-concept may be defined as an associative network containing all of the associations between the concept of self and personality-describing attributes (Asendorpf, Banse, & Mücke, 2002). Personality-describing attributes refer to individual, relatively stable characteristics of the person, yet, do not include pathological attributes (e.g., agoraphobic) as well as cultural or human universals (e.g., German, vertebrate).

This definition of the personality self-concept is in line with Greenwald, Banaji, Rudman, Farnham, Nosek, and Mellot (2002) who argued that information about social objects, social groups, and the self is stored in Social Knowledge Structures. Social Knowledge Structures consist of concepts, that is, representations of persons, groups, or attributes, and associations between these concepts. Thus, the representation of one’s own personality, that is, the personality self-concept, is part of the Social Knowledge Structures. Unlike Greenwald et al.’s (2002) self-concept definition, the personality self-concept includes aspects of self-esteem. Thus, associations between the concept of self and attribute concepts containing a positive or negative valence (e.g., agreeable, disagreeable) are also part of the personality self-concept as long as these attributes describe stable, nonpathological interindividual differences. Shyness, anxiousness, and angriness are examples of personality-describing attributes that are not neutral with respect to valence. These attributes or personality traits were studied both as explicit and implicit representations within the personality self-concept.


In brief, explicit and implicit representations are considered as interacting entities that have different ways of transcribing information from the associative store (for a different conceptualization cf. Wilson, Lindsey, & Schooler, 2000). Thus, explicit and implicit representations are not analogous to the distinction between explicit and implicit memory (Fazio & Olson, 2003). Implicit memory refers to learning effects for which individuals lack awareness (e.g., Schacter, 1987). In contrast, implicit representations are not unaware by definition, and differ from explicit representations with respect to how they provide access to the associative store. The associative store contains all of a person’s knowledge in terms of elements that are associated by episodic or semantic links (Strack & Deutsch, in press). Social Knowledge Structures (Greenwald et al., 2002) are the part of the associative store that refers to social objects, social groups, or the self. A more specific definition of explicit and implicit representations will be given in the following section, after the Reflective-Impulsive Model from Strack and Deutsch is discussed.

2.2 Reflective and Impulsive Information Processing

Recently, Strack and Deutsch (in press) presented an exemplary two-systems model that comprises and expands previous dual-process models (Chaiken & Trope, 1999; Epstein, 1994; Fazio, 1990; Smith & De Coster, 2000; Wilson et al., 2000; Sloman, 1996). The model proposes that perception, thinking, and behavior are functions of two different systems of information processing: the Reflective and the Impulsive System (see Figure 1).

In the Reflective System, behavior is the result of a decision process. The process starts with a perceptual input that is translated into knowledge, that is, a propositional categorization. This induces a reasoning process that leads from a noetic, that is, conscious, decision to a behavioral decision. For instance, if a young man notices an elderly person in a bus, he generates the proposition “this is an elderly person” by combining the concepts “elderly” and “person” with the relation “is a”. This propositional categorization may be extended with the concepts “standing” and “tired”, and could induce a reasoning process that, for example, it is not good for an elderly person to stand. The reasoning process then leads to the noetic decision that the elderly person had better take a seat. Before the young man makes a behavioral decision, he looks around for a free seat, checks out whether somebody else is ready to offer it, and reflects upon offering his own seat. Finally, he decides to give up his seat and stands up. Intending is what controls his behavior then, until his aim is realized. Intending will eventually stop his behavior when the elderly person gets off at next station.


Figure  1. Strack and Deutsch’s (in press) Reflective-Impulsive Model of information processing.

In the Impulsive System, behavior is generated by the spread of activation from perception and imagination to motor schemata, and by motivational orientations. For instance, the young man on the bus may himself move more slowly than he usually does, because the elderly person activated such a stereotype (Bargh, Chen, & Burrows, 1996). His willingness to offer his seat may be strengthened by approach motivation if the elderly person looks amiable. In contrast, the young man may abstain from offering his seat if the person strengthens his avoidance motivation by looking very unfriendly.

The two systems differ with respect to their structural components, processes, and states. The structural components of the Reflective System are concepts that are retrieved from the Impulsive System. These concepts are linked by assigning a truth-value to their relation, whereby the relation is classified as either true or false. The outcome is a propositional categorization. In contrast, the structural components of the Impulsive System are concepts that are associated by episodic and semantic links. These links emerge due to activation in close temporal and spatial contiguity without the assignment of any truth-value. This means that the Impulsive System, in contrast to the Reflective System, is not able to negate information. Whereas the Impulsive System is considered as a long-term storage, the Reflective System has properties of a short-term memory.


Information processing in the Reflective System is a sequence of several decisions that include reasoning and intending. This decision process is flexible, and is able to construct and transform knowledge. Yet, it is slow as it requires intentional resources. In the Impulsive System, information is processed associatively whereby activation spreads using the episodic and semantic links within the associative store. This process is rigid and inflexible but fast.

The state of awareness in the Reflective System is described as noetic, that is, it consists of knowledge about the information that is processed. For instance, the young man on the bus knows that he thinks about offering a seat to the elderly person and what kind of behavior he regards to be more polite. In contrast, he may feel tired because he had a hard day at work without necessarily knowing it. This state of awareness accompanies the Impulsive System, and is described as experiential. It consists of a feeling like being tired, happy, sad, and so forth.

The Reflective and the Impulsive System have a final common pathway to behavior represented by motor schemata. Motor schemata are subsumed to the Impulsive System. They comprise frequently co-occurring motor-representations in sensory-motor clusters. Motor schemata are activated by input of the Reflective and the Impulsive System and elicit overt behavior if a given threshold is exceeded. Depending on the compatibility of the motor schemata, the Reflective and the Impulsive System may interact synergistically or antagonistically. For instance, participants judged foreign statements as more convincing, when they nodded rather than shook their head. This was true even if the nodding and shaking was disguised as testing headphones for use on dance floors (Wells & Petty, 1980). In most cultures, nodding is a nonverbal signal for agreement. Therefore, the Impulsive System associates motor-schemata for nodding with agreement behavior. Consequently, nodding strengthens the persuasive power of arguments that are processed within the Reflective System and makes the arguments more convincing. On contrary, shaking one’s head is associated with disagreement, and, therefore, weakens the persuasive power of arguments. The ways of interaction between the Impulsive and the Reflective System are manifold, and may take place at every step of information processing. However, there is an asymmetry such that the Reflective System always involves the activation of the Impulsive System, whereas the Impulsive System is able to process information without inferences from the Reflective System.


To summarize the characteristics of both systems, the Reflective System generates knowledge through propositional categorization and allows for the intentional control of behavior. In contrast, the Impulsive System represents an associative network that binds together frequently co-occurring perceptual or behavioral features without any intentional controllability. Nevertheless, reflective operations may have an effect on the Impulsive System. Since information processing in the Reflective System is based on elements that are retrieved from the Impulsive System, reflective operations also influence the associative links in the Impulsive System. As a consequence, frequent propositional categorizations reorganize the associative store and form associative clusters that differ in abstractness. Thus, the associative clusters may represent concrete perceptual concepts or more abstract semantic concepts or schemata. However, the clusters are not assumed to comprise any semantic meaning by themselves, and their elements are only related due to frequently co-occurring activation.

Returning to the conceptualization of explicit and implicit representations, the Reflective-Impulsive Model is convenient to elaborate on their specific characteristics. Explicit representations correspond to the propositional categorizations of the Reflective System, that is, explicit representations consist of concepts that are linked by assigning a truth-value to their relationship. Therefore, explicit representations are introspectively accessible. Implicit representations correspond to the associative clusters of the Impulsive System, that is, implicit representations consist of concepts that are linked as a result of frequent co-activation. Therefore, implicit representations are accessible only through procedures that are sensitive for the effects of frequent co-activation. Indirect measures are assumed to represent such procedures.

The manifold interaction between the Reflective and the Impulsive System does not imply that explicit and implicit representations are always different from each other with respect to the content of information they comprise. However, explicit and implicit representations are always different with respect to the form in which information is made available. To illustrate the differences between explicit and implicit representations a painting may help, e.g. Caravaggio’s “Amor Victorious”. Consider a thought experiment in which a person goes in an art gallery, looks at the painting, and tries to make notes. Writing a description of the painting stands for explicit representations. Preparing a pencil drawing of the painting stands for implicit representations. The pencil drawing, if it’s well done, is a fairly analogous representation of the painting. That means, the pencil drawing represents the objects and their locations as they are on the painting, e.g. that Cupid sits on a bed next to a crown, upon a celestial globe, with music instruments and pieces of a body armor next to his feet. In contrast, the written description may list all of these things, and additionally tell that Cupid celebrates a triumph over the symbols of power, science, art, and glory. Thus, the written description is a fairly abstract representation of the painting.


In order to elaborate this metaphor, consider that the person prepared both a pencil drawing and a written description of the painting. At home, the person tells a friend about the painting and shows her or him the drawing and the text. The drawing gives a direct impression about the original whereas the text gives useful comments. The text may be improved from looking at the drawing, but it is rather hard to improve the drawing only with the information provided in the text. The relation between the drawing and the text stands for the interactions between explicit and implicit representations. Explicit representations, the text, consist of concepts that are retrieved from implicit representations, the drawing, and that undergo a process of reasoning and intending. The outcome of this process is a series of propositions, i.e. clear statements about what and why is depicted on the painting. The friend who reads the text and looks at the drawing stands for a psychologist who employs either direct questionnaire measures or indirect assessment procedures. Obviously, the best thing is to use both.

2.3  Direct and Indirect Measures of the Personality Self-Concept

There is confusion about a common terminology for direct and indirect measures (Fazio & Olson, 2003). To resolve the confusion, in this work, the terms explicit and implicit representations are used as labels for the constructs, whereas the procedures to assess these constructs are labeled as direct and indirect measures, respectively. It should, nevertheless, be noted that, in current literature, direct measures are also referred to as explicit measures, and indirect measures as implicit, unobtrusive, non-reactive, or projective measures. Direct measures openly ask individuals to inform about their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. In contrast, indirect measures draw inferences from the individuals’ reactions in different types of tests and procedures.

Whether direct or indirect, both measures have to meet psychometric criteria to serve as instruments that are apt to assess interindividual differences. Psychometric criteria refer to aspects of objectivity, reliability, and validity. Objectivity indicates the independence of a measure from situational effects. Reliability refers to the internal consistency or test-retest stability of a measure. Validity informs about what is assessed or predicted by a measure. (Different aspects of validity are discussed in Chapter 2.5.)


Examples of direct measures to assess different aspects of the personality self-concept are manifold, for example, the Revised NEO Personality Inventory from Costa and McCrae (1992). Direct measures are based on verbal self-report and rely on information that is intentionally given to inform about the self. In various domains, direct measures were shown to possess satisfactory psychometric properties (e.g., Pervin & John, 2001).

Examples of indirect measures are projective procedures, procedures that are based on linguistic effects, and chronometric procedures. Projective procedures, like the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT, Murray, 1943), employ the presentation of ambiguous stimuli. Respondents are assumed to project their own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors onto these stimuli. Projective procedures are criticized to be overly susceptible to contextual influences, and to show poor or moderate inter-rater reliability, as well as low reliability and validity (e.g., Aiken, 1996). Additionally, projective procedures are usually very time consuming.

A procedure that explores linguistic effects is the Adult Attachment Interview (George, Kaplan, & Main, 1985). In this interview, the detailed and specific report of experiences with one’s own parents indicates secure rather than insecure attachment styles. The interview is very time consuming. Nevertheless, the results of interviewed parents show good predictive validity for the attachment behavior of their child (van Ijzendoorn, 1995).


Chronometric procedures are based on response latencies. Examples of chronometric procedures are priming methods (e.g., Fazio, Sanbonmatsu, Powell, & Kardes, 1986) and the Implicit Association Tests (Greenwald et al., 1998). Priming methods explore whether the presentation of a stimulus, that is, the prime, influences the speed of response to a different stimulus, that is, the target. Priming methods were shown to be valid for the study of sample means and group differences (for a review, see Fazio & Olson, 2003). However, priming methods reach only low effect sizes, and show small to moderate reliability at best (e.g., Kawakami & Dovidio, 2001). In contrast, the Implicit Association Tests or IATs (Greenwald et al., 1998) were shown to meet psychometric criteria for the assessment of the personality self-concept (e.g., Asendorpf et al., 2002; Egloff & Schmukle, 2002). I refer to IAT measures in plural to make it clear that they represent different applications of a general procedure rather than a specific test (cf. Fiedler, Messner, & Blümke, 2003). The general IAT procedure is described in detail in the following section.

Although indirect measures revealed weaker psychometric qualities than direct measures in most cases, indirect measures were always a matter of enormous interest in psychological research (for a review, see Fazio & Olson, 2003). The reasons for this fascination refer to two limitations of direct measures (Greenwald & Farnham, 1995). First, direct measures rely on verbal report that is intentionally given to inform about the self. Therefore, direct measures are susceptible to self-presentational biases. Second, direct measures rely on representations of the personality self-concept that are accessible through introspection. Therefore, direct measures may not reflect the entirety of an individual’s knowledge about his or her personality.

Altogether, direct measures of the personality self-concept aim to assess the knowledge about one’s personality that is embodied in explicit representations. Indirect measures aim to assess the knowledge about one’s personality that is embodied in implicit representations. The next section describes an indirect chronometric procedure, the Implicit Association Tests, in more detail.

2.4  Implicit Association Tests (IATs)


This section deals with the Implicit Association Tests (IATs) that had an enormous impact on psychological research since the initial publication five years ago (Greenwald et al., 1998). The IATs are referred to in plural to indicate that they represent a general measurement procedure rather than a specific test. The first section of this section presents the sequence of tasks that is realized by all IATs. In the second section, different accounts for the effects of IATs are discussed.

2.4.1  The Procedure of IATs

Implicit Association Tests are designed to compare speed of response between two different pairings of a double discrimination task. One discrimination task asks for the categorization of a binary target concept, for example, ‘flower’ versus ‘insect’ The other discrimination task asks for the categorization of a binary attribute concept, for example, ‘positive’ versus ‘negative’. An IAT pairs both categorizations within a double discrimination task, and implements the two possible pairings. One pairing requires one response for one target and one attribute category, and another response for the alternative target and the alternative attribute category. The other pairing leaves responses for the attribute categories the same but exchanges the responses for the target categories.

An IAT starts by introducing participants to the target, and, subsequently, to the attribute concept. For instance, an IAT that assesses attitudes toward flowers and insects first trains participants to press the left response key when a flower name is presented on the screen and the right response key when an insect name is presented on the screen (see Table 1). In the second sequence, participants are trained to press the left key for positive words and the right key for negative words. The third sequence combines the target and the attribute discrimination, and asks participants to respond left to flower names or positive words, and right to insect names or negative words. The fourth sequence reverses the target discrimination, and assigns the left response to insect names and the right response to flower names. Finally, the fifth sequence combines the attribute and the previously reversed target discrimination, and asks participants to respond left to insect names or positive words, and right to flower names or negative words.


Table 1
Task Sequence and Stimuli of an Implicit Association Test to Measure Attitudes toward Flowers and Insects

Response key assignment



Left key

Right key


Target discrimination




Attribute discrimination




Initial combined task

Flower, positive

Insect, negative


Reversed target discrimination




Reversed combined task

Insect, positive

Flower, negative

Target concept

Attribute concept






Sample stimuli





















Note. Sample stimuli correspond to Greenwald et al. (1998).

For the calculation of IAT scores, or IAT effects, only response latencies within the combined tasks are relevant. Various variants of IAT scores are based upon the difference in mean response latencies in sequence 5 minus sequence 3. Thus, if participants are quicker in combining flower names + positive words and insect names + negative words relatively to the reverse pairing, they attain low latencies in sequence 3 and high latencies in sequence 5. This would result in a positive IAT score. Normally, participants evaluate flowers more positively than insects on direct attitude measures (Greenwald et al. 1998). This was equally indicated in the indirect measure by a positive IAT effect. Greenwald and colleagues (1998) concluded that quicker responses plausibly reflect stronger associations for flower + positive and insect + negative relatively to flower + negative and insect + positive. The combined task that reveals quicker responses in most respondents is often referred to as the ‘compatible’ task. Thus, in the flower-insect attitude IAT, the flower + positive and insect + negative pairing would represent the ‘compatible’ task.

The conventional IAT scoring algorithm was presented in the initial publication of IAT data (Greenwald et al., 1998). This procedure discarded training trials from the combined blocks, and was based on log-transformed latencies. Recently, Greenwald, Nosek, and Banaji (2003) proposed an improved algorithm for IAT scores that are referred to as D measures. D measures (a) employ untransformed response latencies from all trials of the combined blocks, (b) include a latency penalty for error trials, and (c) are individually calibrated by each respondent’s standard deviation of latencies. D measures outperformed the conventional IAT scores with regard to several criteria. In contrast to conventional scores, D measures were more resistant to contamination by response speed differences, and less affected by prior experiences with the IAT procedure. D measures are also yielded in larger effect sizes and higher correlations with direct self-report measures.


One limitation that results from the procedure of IATs is that it is confined to relative association strength: An IAT effect reflects the association strength of one pairing of target and attribute categories relatively to the reverse pairing. For instance, a positive flower-insect IAT score in the above example merely reflects that one evaluates flowers more positively, or less negatively, than insects. This does not illuminate whether one endorses either positive or negative attitudes toward either flowers or insects. Thus, IATs assess associations between an attribute concept and a target category only in relation to an opposing target category.

Therefore, alternatives to the IAT were developed to allow for single target categories, that is, the EASTs (“Extrinsic Affective Simon Tasks”, De Houwer, 2003a), the EMAs (“Evaluative Movement Assessments”, Brendl, Markmann, & Messner, 2003), the GNATs (“Go/No-Go Association Tasks”, Nosek & Banaji, 2001), and the STIATs (“Single Target IATs”, Wigboldus, 2003). A variant of the EMA, the Indirect Association Procedure (IAP) was developed in Study 1 to assess the implicit self-concept of shyness. This procedure is described in the pilot studies of Study 1. The other procedures are not discussed in more detail because they are not directly related to this research. The common goal of all of these measures is to assess associations between concepts by contrasting opposing pairings of the concepts.

A second limitation of the IAT is that it may not be unquestionably qualified as an indirect or an unobtrusive measure. Indirectness usually refers to (a) unawareness, and therefore (b) uncontrollability of what is measured by a certain procedure (Greenwald & Banaji, 1995). However, the first aspect, unawareness, is not true for IATs as they explicitly introduce the target and the attribute concept. Concerning the second aspect, uncontrollability, empirical evidence shows that IATs can be both robust against (Banse, Seise, & Zerbes, 2001; Egloff & Schmukle, 2002; Kim, 2003) and susceptible to (Fiedler & Blümke, 2003) volitional influences. Nevertheless, IATs were fakable only when participants were informed beforehand how the calculation of the IAT score works (Fiedler & Blümke, 2003). In addition, IAT results can be influenced by mind sets of the participants that they more or less deliberately acquire before the test (see the special issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 2001). Among the new tests only the EAST (De Houwer, 2003a) does not explicitly introduce the target concept. In this work, IATs are labeled as indirect measures because they aim to assess implicit representations. However, this does not imply that the procedure and the outcome of IATs are necessarily unaware and uncontrollable.


The third limitation of IATs is that they do not allow for the simultaneous assessment of multiple target or attribute concepts. Particularly in research on personality differences, one is often interested in simultaneously assessing numerous personality-describing attributes with the IAT, as it is possible in direct questionnaire measures. Among the new tests, the EMA (Brendl et al, 2003) and the EAST (De Houwer, 2003a) allow for multiple concepts although right now empirical evidence is lacking that these procedures assess multiple implicit concepts without major confounds between them.

2.4.2 Accounts for the IAT effect

IATs operate on the basic premise that it is easier to pair two highly associated concepts in one response than to separate them in different responses (Greenwald & Nosek, 2001). However, this does not elucidate (a) how the pairing of associated concepts facilitates the response, (b) whether this is uniquely driven by association strength or by other aspects of conceptual propinquity, and (c) what the method-specific influences of the IAT are. In contrast to the manifold research on the validity of IATs (for reviews see, e.g., Fazio & Olson, 2003; Hofmann, Gawronski, Gschwendner, Le, & Schmitt, 2003), only a few studies have looked at the underlying cognitive mechanisms that produce the IAT effect.

Dasgupta and Greenwald (2001) accentuated the similarities between IATs and evaluative priming (Fazio et al., 1986). According to the authors, both kinds of tasks are based on the assumption that attitudes are activated automatically, and, therefore, facilitate the processing of evaluatively congruent stimuli. For both tasks, the strength of response facilitation is considered to be a measure of the strength with which the attitude object is automatically associated with a positive or negative evaluation. However, Mierke and Klauer (2001) outlined differences between IATs and priming, considering both the semantic and the evaluative priming task. These authors mentioned that the spreading activation account that was shown to explain semantic (Neely, 1991) and evaluative (Bargh, Chaiken, Raymond, & Hymes, 1996; for a different explanation, see De Houwer, Hermans, Rothermund, & Wentura, 2002; Klauer & Musch, 2003) priming effects is incapable of explaining IAT effects. Originally, the spreading activation theory was used to describe information processing in semantic networks as a spread of activation between interconnected nodes that represent units of conceptual knowledge (Collins & Loftus, 1975). Given this conceptualization, the spreading activation model is unable to explain differences between the compatible and the incompatible IAT pairing, because both are identical with respect to stimulus composition, and, thus, also with respect to stimulus-triggered activation patterns (Mierke & Klauer, 2001).


Nevertheless, spreading activation may still be an appropriate metaphor for describing differences between IAT pairings in regards to the broader view of the two-systems model of Strack and Deutsch (2003). According to this model, spreading activation is the universal method of information processing within the Impulsive System, and provides, more or less, direct links between perceptual inputs and motor schemata. These links may be offered more easily if associated inputs - that is, inputs producing somehow similar activation patterns - are matched to identical motor schemata. In contrast, if unassociated inputs - that is, inputs producing different activation patterns - have to be matched to identical motor schemata, direct stimulus-response links may be hindered.

This view corresponds to the assumption of learned associations between the response keys and the assigned attribute category (Neumann et al., 1998) as well as to the stimulus-response compatibility mechanism (De Houwer, 2001, 2003b). This mechanism argues that there is a compatibility between stimulus and response in the compatible pairing because responses are unambiguously associated with an evaluative or semantic meaning. In contrast, stimulus-response compatibility is missing in the incompatible pairing because response representations are ambiguous with respect to a certain meaning. According to De Houwer, stimulus-response compatibility stems from the relevant feature rather than from the irrelevant feature of target exemplars. The relevant feature reflects the assignment of the target exemplars to a target category, for example, “flower” or “insect”. The irrelevant feature reflects the overlap of the target exemplars with an attribute category, for example, “positive” or “negative”. Although the relevant and the irrelevant features are perfectly confounded in typical IATs, the relevant feature of target exemplars seems to be also relevant for the IAT effect. De Houwer (2001) showed that the positive or negative valence of target exemplars had little or no impact on the IAT effect. Therefore, he employed an IAT that assessed the attitudes of British participants towards British versus foreign names. This IAT revealed a preference for combining British names with positive attributes that was not distorted by the valence of British (e.g., Princess Diana or Margaret Thatcher) and foreign (e.g., Albert Einstein or Adolf Hitler) names.

The stimulus-response compatibility model may also account for the frequently replicated finding that the IAT effect is smaller if the incompatible pairing is completed before the compatible pairing (Greenwald, Nosek & Banaji, 2003). If participants are first trained in the incompatible pairing that there is no contingency between the response keys and evaluative or semantic meanings, this has to be extinguished in the compatible pairing. In contrast, if participants first learn that there is stimulus-response compatibility and afterward have to ignore stimulus-response incompatibility, they show larger IAT effects. Recently, the effect of task order was shown to be considerably reduced if additional trials in the reversed target discrimination (sequence 4 in Table 1) were added (Nosek, Greenwald, & Banaji, 2003). Thus, the impact of a preceding compatible or incompatible pairing on the second combined task seems to be minimized, if participants spend more time training the reversed target discrimination. This provides further evidence for a stimulus-response compatibility model, that is, the influence of learned associations between the concept categories and the response keys.


Of course, whether a pairing may be referred to as compatible or incompatible depends on the responses of the participant. Usually, the ‘compatible’ pairing is operationally defined as the IAT task that is completed the quickest for the majority of participants. Therefore, differential effects of task order are not only relevant to interpret IAT scores for participants with different task order, but also for participants with the identical task order. Importantly, for participants with positive IAT scores, that is, participants that are quicker in the first and ‘compatible’ pairing, the differences between the compatible and the incompatible pairing are maximized through the task order effect. For participants with negative scores, that is, participants that are quicker in the second and ‘incompatible’ pairing, the differences between the pairings are minimized.

Consequently, if one is interested in employing the task order effect to maximize differences within a group of participants, the pairing which is compatible for the respective group should be placed first. For instance, if one explores differences between shy and moderately shy participants, that is, participants which are all quicker in combining ‘me’ + ‘shy’ and ‘others’ + ‘nonshy’ relative to the reverse pairing, the ‘me’ + ‘shy’ pairing should be put first. However, if one explores differences that are symmetrically distributed around zero, the differential effect of task order should be removed through additional trials in the reversed target discrimination (Nosek et al., 2003). Anyhow, if interindividual differences in addition to cross-group groups differences are the matter of interest, the task order should never be counterbalanced across participants. Otherwise, order variance is confounded with interindividual variance.

Karpinski and Hilton (2001) suggested that IATs are influenced by environmental associations. These authors employed an IAT to explore the malleability of attitudes toward youth and elderly. When participants were exposed to youth + negative and elderly + positive word pairings, the IAT effect was less biased toward youth + positive. Direct attitude measures, in contrast, were unaffected by the manipulation (Karpinski & Hilton, 2001, Study 3). The authors concluded that IATs reflect associations one has encountered in environment. These associations, however, do not reveal personal attitudes of participants. Importantly, in this study, the IAT effect was only modified by the manipulation but not completely reversed. Moreover, even if IATs are susceptible to learning experiences, this may also indicate the effects of these experiences on the individual’s implicit attitudes rather than merely environmental associations (cf. Dasgupta & Greenwald, 2001).


Mierke and Klauer (2001, in press) reported a task-switching account of the IAT effect that also explains method-specific variance in IATs. The model states that attribute-related information is sufficient for fast and accurate responding within the compatible condition. Therefore, in this condition participants neglect to switch between target-based and attribute-based decision on a substantial proportion of trials. As participants neglect to switch, they also avoid task-switching costs. However, task-switching costs cannot be evaded and therefore affect response latencies in the incompatible condition. Consequently, Mierke and Klauer (2001) showed that switching between target and attribute discrimination produced significantly more costs in the incompatible than in the compatible IAT pairing.

More importantly, task-switching performance was also shown to represent stable interindividual differences in another set of experiments. Mierke and Klauer (in press) demonstrated that IAT effects could be obtained with an IAT that was not based on pre-existing associations between targets and attributes. In that instance, the IAT experimentally imposed a contingency between the target category (color) and the attribute category (size) of geometrical objects, so that all blue objects were big and all red objects were small. The geometrical objects IAT revealed an internally consistent IAT effect that correlated even with the absolute scores of an extraversion IAT, r = .39. The correlation was calculated using absolute scores because interindividual differences in task-switching performance were expected to predominantly affect the incompatible IAT pairing. Whether a pairing is incompatible, however, is a function of a participant rather than a function of an IAT. Thus, participants with poor task-switching performance slow down their responses in the incompatible pairing, and add an extremity bias to their IAT scores. This extremity bias is better represented by absolute scores rather than by IAT raw scores. Since no participant showed negative scores in the geometrical objects IAT, absolute scores and raw scores were identical for this IAT. In sum, the correlation between the geometrical objects IAT and the extraversion IAT could not be interpreted in terms of convergent validity, and indicated a reliable contamination of both IATs with method-specific variance.

Interestingly, the correlation between the geometrical objects IAT and the extraversion IAT was rendered not significant when IAT scores were computed as D measures. D measures are individually standardized for latency variability and refer to the improved scoring algorithm from Greenwald et al. (2003) (see Chapter 2.4.1). This individual calibration seems to control for method-specific variance that is produced by task-switching costs.


Brendl, Markman, and Messner (2001) suggested a random walk model with variable response thresholds in order to explain IAT effects. The model posits that information on incoming IAT stimuli is accumulated until a certain response threshold is reached. In the compatible pairing, valence and concept information on target stimuli contributes simultaneously to reach the response threshold. In the incompatible pairing, valence information and concept information on target stimuli are conflicting, and contribute oppositely to reach the threshold. According to the authors, this leads to a criterion shift and higher response thresholds for targets and attributes, thus, to generally slower responses within the incompatible condition. However, the notion of a general criterion shift would not explain differential effects of task-switching that were reported by Mierke and Klauer (in press).

Rothermund and Wentura (2001, 2003) suggested a figure-ground model of IAT effects. According to this model, the two target categories as well as the two attribute categories differ with respect to salience. The salient category of a target and an attribute concept serve as “figure” on the “ground” of the opposing nonsalient category. During the compatible IAT pairing, both salient categories are mapped to one response key, and both nonsalient categories to the other response key. Therefore, participants can base the discrimination of categories on the figure-ground information alone. In a series of different experiments, Rothermund and Wentura (2001, 2003) dissociated effects of salience from effects of association strength, and showed that salience asymmetries may produce IAT effects. The authors concluded, that IAT effects do not necessarily rely on associations between categories. However, this does not rule out that associations may produce IAT effects as well, and that salience asymmetries themselves may be the result of associations. For instance, in the flower/insect IAT, insects may be the salient category because they are associated with negative valence. Thus, salience asymmetries may simply reflect different associations of flowers and insects with positive and negative attributes. Furthermore, Mierke and Klauer (in press) showed that salience asymmetries, as well as associations, are not a necessary precondition for IAT effects.

Steffens et al. (2003) proposed a two-factor model and classified previous accounts of the IAT effect into those that are concept-based and those that are stimulus-based. Concept-based accounts concentrate on target-attribute associations at the concept level, whereas stimulus-based accounts concentrate on individual features of target and attribute exemplars. Steffens et al. (2003) concluded that both accounts contribute to the IAT effect, and labeled the former as task factor, and the latter as stimulus factor. The task factor and the stimulus factor are similar to the relevant and irrelevant feature account from De Houwer (2001, 2003b), respectively, but they refer to features of both, the target and the attribute concept. The task factor accounts for a simplified task representation throughout the compatible IAT pairing because of a dimensional overlap (Kornblum, Hasbroucq, & Osman, 1990) between the target and the attribute concept. Thus, in the compatible pairing, participants do not need to base their discriminations on target and attribute information, but may simply employ the overlapping dimension (e.g., valence). Therefore, participants are faster in the compatible than in the incompatible pairing.


The stimulus factor accounts for a modification of the task factor because of consistent or inconsistent cross-category associations. For consistent cross-category associations, there is a dimensional overlap between the target exemplars and the attribute concept, or between the attribute exemplars and the target concept, that goes beyond the dimensional overlap between the two concepts. For inconsistent cross-category associations, there is a dimensional overlap between the exemplars and the nonrelevant concept, which is the opposite of the dimensional overlap between the two concepts.

To illustrate different cross-category associations, I employ the categories and stimuli that I already discussed about in De Houwer’s (2001) experiment. As one may recall, British participants were quicker in pairing the target category ‘British name’ with the attribute category ‘positive’ and the target category ‘foreign name’ with the attribute category ‘negative’ than in the reverse pairing. However, exemplars of both target categories differed with regards to their associations with the attribute categories. For consistent cross-category associations, these associations equaled the association between the target and the attribute concept, that is, British names represented positive persons (e.g., Princess Diana) and foreign names represented negative persons (e.g., Adolf Hitler). For inconsistent cross-category associations, these associations were in opposition to the association between the target and the attribute concept, that is, British names represented negative persons (e.g., Margaret Thatcher) and foreign names represented positive persons (e.g., Albert Einstein). Thus, cross-category associations of stimuli are described as consistent when they match the compatible pairing of the two concepts, whereas they are described as inconsistent when they match the incompatible pairing of concepts.

The notion of a dimensional overlap between targets and attributes corresponds to Fiedler et al.’s (2003) redundancy model of the IAT effect. Redundancy arises in a discrimination task if stimuli constantly differ with regard to more than one aspect (Garner, 1969). Due to redundancy in the compatible IAT task, the discrimination of attributes facilitates the discrimination of targets, because the features of both concepts are correlated. However, the dimension in which target and attribute features correlate may be equally described as dimensional overlap. This overlap can occur on both, the concept level (i.e., the task factor) and the stimulus level (i.e., the stimulus factor).


Steffens and colleagues (Steffens & Plewe, 2001; Steffens et al., 2003) conducted several experiments to explore the influence of the task and the stimulus factor. These experiments differed from De Houwer’s (2001) experiment with regard to the following points: Steffens and colleagues (a) manipulated the cross-category associations for both target and attribute exemplars, (b) made sure that these manipulations were true at an explicit level for every single participant, (c) explored effects of different cross-category associations both in separate IATs and within mixed IATs, (d) employed IATs that assessed attitudes towards women or Germans, and (e) conducted experiments with larger sample sizes and more trials in the combined IAT tasks. Results showed an influence of the stimulus factor, that is, cross-category associations, in all experiments. As expected, the IAT effect was larger for consistent rather than for inconsistent cross-category associations. However, inconsistent cross-category associations never completely reversed the IAT effects. Therefore, Steffens et al. (2003) concluded that the task factor, that is, the dimensional overlap between the concepts, played a major role in the IAT effect but may be modified by stimulus features. Nevertheless, other authors showed that IAT effects may be even reversed for inconsistent cross-category associations (Blümke & Friese, 2003; Govan & Williams, 2003).

Mitchell, Nosek, and Banaji (2003) and Nosek, Greenwald, and Banaji (2003) reported results that are in agreement with the two-factor model. Mitchell and colleagues (2003, Experiment 1) showed that IATs with identical target exemplars (liked Black athletes versus disliked White politicians) revealed a more positive evaluation for Black athletes or for White politicians dependent on whether participants had to discriminate occupation (athletes versus politicians) or race (Black versus White) in the IAT. These results clearly underline the importance of the task-factor, that is, the concept categories. However, the same authors revealed that the IAT is equally sensitive to individual stimulus features. The effect of a racial attitude IAT was influenced dependent on whether target stimuli were liked Whites and disliked Blacks or disliked Whites and liked Blacks (Mitchell et al., 2003, Experiment 2). This is in line with the results of Nosek and colleagues (2003, Study 3). In this study, the effect of an IAT that assessed attitudes towards homosexuals was less negative when both male-male and female-female couples were used as targets. Therefore, Mitchell et al. (2003) came to the same conclusion as Steffens et al. (2003). The IAT effect depends on both the category frame, that is, the target and attribute categories, and the individual exemplars, that is, the features of the individual stimuli.

Concerning practical applications, one should employ stimuli that (a) well represent all relevant aspects of the category frame, and (b) may not be categorized according to concepts that differ from the category frame (Greenwald & Nosek, 2001; Nosek et al., 2003). When these criteria are fulfilled, there is a good reason to assume that an IAT effect relies on what is represented by the category frame. Stimuli features may provide contextual meaning (cf. Nosek et al., 2003). However, stimuli features are unlikely to severely distort the IAT effect.


To summarize the accounts for the IAT effect, the dimensional overlap between targets and attributes seems to play an important role in most of these accounts. The more dimensional overlap exists between targets and attributes, the more similar are the activation patterns that they produce. If similar activation patterns are matched to identical responses in the compatible IAT pairing, responses are facilitated. However, dimensional overlap is just a broader term than association strength, and does not in turn specify the underlying cognitive mechanisms of the IAT. Nevertheless, this notion clarified that IAT effects may not uniquely stem from associations but also from any features that cause dimensional overlap, e.g., salience, similarity, familiarity, and so forth. Salience asymmetries (Rothermund & Wentura, 2003) and stimulus similarity (Mierke & Klauer, in press) were shown to produce IAT effects, whereas familiarity has yet been ruled out as an alternative explanation for the IAT effect (Dasgupta, McGhee, Greenwald, & Banaji, 2000; Ottaway, Hayden, & Oakes, 2001, Rudman, Greenwald, Mellot, & Schwartz, 1999). Concerning method-specific influences, the absolute IAT scores seem to be affected by task-switching costs (Mierke & Klauer, 2001, in press), and the IAT effect depends upon features of both the employed concepts and the individual stimuli (Mitchell et al., 2003; Steffens et al., 2003).

It should be noted that most of these accounts refer to effects on the IAT score. Only a few studies included correlations between an IAT and direct measures or between different IATs. Importantly, correlations between an IAT and direct measures were unaffected or tended to be somewhat higher even if the IAT effect was reduced by procedural variations or stimulus features (Mierke & Klauer, in press; Nosek et al, 2003; Steffens & Plewe, 2001). Task-switching costs did not only affect absolute IAT scores but also reliably contaminated correlations between conventionally calculated absolute IAT scores (Mierke & Klauer, in press). One should be careful when models concerning the IAT effect are employed to draw conclusions about the correlations of IAT scores (cf. Asendorpf, 1992).

2.5 Multitrait-Multimethod Validation of Indirect Measures

Campbell & Fiske (1959) pointed out the employment of the multitrait-multimethod matrix for the validation of personality measures. Multitrait-multimethod validation means that more than one trait as well as more than one method are included in the validation process. Traits and methods are completely crossed in a matrix, such that every trait is assessed with every method. Nevertheless, completely crossed multitrait-multimethod matrices are the exception rather than the rule in the study of interindividual differences (Fiske, 1987). Within completely crossed designs two different aspects of validity, that is, convergent and discriminant validity, are analyzed simultaneously.


Convergent validity is calculated as monotrait-heteromethod correlations, thus, as correlations of a single trait that was measured with different methods. Discriminant validity is calculated as heterotrait-monomethod and as heterotrait-heteromethod correlations, thus, as correlations of different traits that were measured with the same and with different methods, respectively. Desirably, the monotrait-heteromethod correlations are larger than the heterotrait-monomethod correlations. If this is not the case, data variance is dominated by method-specific effects rather than by trait-specific effects. Ideally, the heterotrait-heteromethod correlations are zero, indicating an independence of both traits and methods. (I ignore here that traits and methods may be inversely correlated, see Campbell and Fiske, 1956.) Monotrait-heteromethod correlations can than be unequivocally interpreted as convergent validity, and heterotrait-monomethod correlations can be interpreted as method-specific effects.

Consequently, multitrait-multimethod validation implies contrasting convergent and discriminant validity. Convergent validity is only accepted when it is higher than discriminant validity, that is, when convergent validity outperforms the variance that methods share while assessing different traits. An example for shared method variance of direct questionnaire measures is their susceptibility to social desirability concerns. An example for shared method variance of indirect chronometric procedures – yet not for the IATs (Greenwald et al., 2003) – are shared interindividual differences in response latency. Finally, extremity biases may represent a method factor that affects both direct and indirect measures (cf. Mierke & Klauer, in press).

Following the conceptualization of explicit and implicit representations (see Chapter 2.2), direct and indirect measures are assumed to assess constructs that are partially overlapping but not identical. Thus, regarding correlations between direct and indirect measures it is not clear whether these correlations should be interpreted as convergent or as discriminant validity (cf. Greenwald et al., 2003). As a possible solution, direct-indirect correlations may be viewed either as convergent or as discriminant validity depending on whether one aims at assessing the overlap or the disparity between explicit and implicit representations. Nevertheless, to evaluate the specific characteristics of explicit and implicit representations, an effort has to be made to identify variables that are correlated with indirect but not with direct measures and vice versa. Therefore, other methods than direct measures, e.g., behavioral variables, should be included in the validation of indirect measures.


Such an approach was recently chosen by Asendorpf et al. (2002) who showed a double dissociation between a direct shyness questionnaire and an indirect shyness IAT for the prediction of shy behavior. The shyness questionnaire uniquely predicted controlled (but not spontaneous) shy behavior, whereas the shyness IAT uniquely predicted spontaneous (but not controlled) shy behavior. Dissociations between direct and indirect measures for the prediction of controlled and spontaneous behavior were also found for racial attitudes (Dovidio, Kawakami, & Gaertner, 2002; McConnell & Liebold, 2001) and for consumer attitudes (Plessner, Wänke, Friese, & Haar, 2003). Thus, the validation of indirect measures should include the study of convergent and discriminant validity using both direct measures and behavioral observations as methods.

Additionally, the validation of indirect measures should comprise more than one trait, to make sure that results are not restricted to a specific trait. More importantly, in order to correctly evaluate the convergent validity of an indirect measure for the assessment of implicit representations, more than one indirect measure is needed. A comparison between different indirect measures is also necessary to judge the method effects of any specific indirect assessment procedure. In sum, not only different traits but also different indirect methods are crucial for the validation of the implicit self-concept.

2.6  Shyness, Anxiousness, and Angriness

The following two sections deal with shyness, anxiousness, and angriness that were used as dependent variables for the validation of the implicit personality self-concept. The constructs were labeled as shyness, anxiousness, and angriness to make it clear that they refer to personality traits, that is, relatively stable response dispositions, and do not describe emotional states in specific situations (cf. Leary, 1991). Chapter 2.6.1 refers to Lazarus’ (1991) emotion theory and explains how personal and situational factors interact to develop shy, anxious, and angry behavior. Chapter 2.6.2 describes how shyness, anxiousness, and angriness are related to neuroticism, extraversion, and agreeableness.

2.6.1  Shyness, Anxiousness, and Angriness and Lazarus’ Emotion Theory


Lazarus’ (1991) emotion theory defines the formation of emotions as a function of a multi-level appraisal process. Appraisals are considered as reflective or impulsive decisions that estimate a given person-environment relationship and evolve a particular emotion. Each emotion is qualified by its unique core relational theme. The core relational theme summarizes personal harms or benefits that result from the person-environment relationship. The core relational theme for anxiety is defined as “facing uncertain, existential threat”, and for anger as “a demeaning offense against me and mine” (p. 122).

To construct the core relational theme, an appraisal process generates different evaluative patterns that discriminate among emotions. Therefore, the appraisal process involves a set of primary and secondary appraisals. Primary appraisals concern the motivational aspects and the personal stakes in a person-environment encounter. Primary appraisals include three components, which are goal relevance, goal congruence or incongruence, and type of ego-involvement. Goal relevance refers to whether an encounter affects personal goals. Goal congruence or incongruence is concerned with whether the encounter facilitates or thwarts personal goals. Type of ego-involvement deals with aspects of ego-identity, e.g., self- and social-esteem, moral values, or life goals.

Secondary appraisals concern options for coping behavior, that is, the prospects to preserve positive or to avoid negative emotional states. Again, secondary appraisals include three components, which are credit or blame, coping potential, and future expectancy. Credit or blame derives from knowing who is held responsible for a frustration or a success. Coping potential refers to whether an individual can deal with situational demands and whether a situation offers possibilities to actualize personal goals. Future expectancy refers to the probability of coping behavior changing things for better or worse.


In order to develop an evaluative pattern that specifies an emotion, one doesn’t require all six of the appraisal components for each emotion. For instance, all the necessary and sufficient components for anxiety comprise only the three primary appraisal components. For anger, the three primary appraisal components and the blame are essential (see Table 2). Both, anxiety and anger refer to person-environment relationships that are incongruent with their goal. Consequently, anger and anxiety are conceptualized as negative emotions. For anxiety, the type of ego-involvement concerns with an existential threat or a threat to self- or social-esteem. According to Lazarus’ model, these appraisal components are necessary and sufficient for the construction of anxiety. To experience anxiety, blame is irrelevant, yet the coping options and future expectations are characterized by uncertainty.

Table 2
The Formation of Anxiety or Anger and Resulting Action Tendencies (Lazarus, 1991)



Primary appraisals

Goal relevance

(1) If there is goal relevance, any emotion is possible.

Goal incongruence

(2) If there is goal incongruence, negative emotions are possible.


(3) If ego involvement concerns threat to self- or social-esteem, …

or existential threat, then emotion
possibilities narrow to anxiety.

then emotion possibilities include anger and anxiety.

Secondary appraisals

(4) Irrelevant

(4) If there is other- or self-blame, anger occurs.


Coping potential

(5) Uncertain

(5) If attack is viable, anger is facilitated.

Future expectancy

(6) Uncertain

(6) If attack seems successful, anger is facilitated.

Action tendencies

Avoidance, escape

Approach, attack

Note. Essential appraisal components are 1 through 3 for anxiety, and 1 through 4 for anger.

For anger, the type of ego-involvement concerns with a threat to self- or social-esteem. When others or the self are blamed for the threat to self- or social-esteem, anger occurs. The anger is directed externally or internally, dependent on whether the blame is directed at another person or at oneself. These appraisal components are necessary and sufficient for the construction of anger. However, anger is facilitated, when coping options favor an attack, and if future expectations are positive about the environmental response to attack.


Although the appraisal components are in hierarchical order like in a decision-tree (see Table 2), the model argues that appraisals are not necessarily sequential. Thus, the appraisal process does not represent a step-by-step scan of the reported components in any fixed order. Moreover, the core relational theme of each emotion is identified very rapidly and, possibly, even simultaneously with the appraisal components. Interestingly enough, this construction of emotional meaning may have been evolved through a reflective, self-controlled, and abstract cognitive analysis and via an impulsive, unconscious process. Thus, in regards to the reflective and impulsive information processing model from Strack and Deutsch (in press; see Chapter 2.2), the appraisal process may be accompanied by both a noetic, that is, conscious, and an experiential, that is, unconscious, state of awareness.

Furthermore, Lazarus’ (1991) model embraces behavioral aspects. Behavioral aspects are represented by different action tendencies that result from each emotion. The action tendencies that rise from anxiety are avoidance or escape. For anger, the action tendencies are approach or attack (see Table 2). In the model from Strack and Deutsch (in press), these action tendencies are considered to be the aspects of motivational orientation. In both models, action tendencies or motivational orientations and behavior are activated reciprocally. Thus, strong action tendencies are more likely to elicit the compatible behavior. Similarly, any given behavior may reinforce the action tendency and the emotional state consistent with the behavior.

Even though Lazarus’ (1991) model deals with the formation of emotional states in different situations, the model does not neglect interindividual differences. Interindividual differences are represented by different appraisal styles. An appraisal style summarizes appraisals of person-environment relationships that are consistent across different situations. These transsituationally consistent response dispositions may also be considered as traits. For instance, someone who gets anxious, both, when trying to get around in a new place, and when delivering a speech in front of an audience, may be described as an anxious person. The feeling of anxiety within both situations refers to an emotional state, whereas the readiness to appraise both situations as a threat to oneself refers to a personality trait, that is, anxiousness.


Thus, Lazarus’ emotion theory considers anxiety, and anger as the outcome of a person-environment relationship. Appraisal styles represent the effects of interindividual differences on this person-situation interaction. For instance, individuals high in anxiousness consistently tend to appraise person-environment relationships in terms of threat to self- or social esteem or even in terms of existential threat. Similarly, individuals high in angriness consistently tend to appraise person-environment relationships in terms of threat to self- or social-esteem, yet, hold others or themselves responsible for their harmful experiences.

Lazarus’ emotion theory does not explicitly refer to shyness. Nevertheless, Lazarus’ theory allows for the inclusion of shyness. According to Asendorpf (1989a), shyness is associated with two types of concern - fear of the unfamiliar and fear of being negatively evaluated by others. Within Lazarus’ theory these concerns may be considered as appraisal styles referring to shyness. These concerns may be also part of the appraisal styles for anxiousness (cf. Crozier, 2001). However, the shyness appraisal styles are more situation-specific and refer, in particular, to two kinds of inhibitions, that is, fear of strangers and fear of social evaluation. More importantly, self-descriptions and behavioral observations in shyness-inducing situations provided empirical evidence that shyness was independently elicited by both kinds of inhibitions (Asendorpf, 1989a).

The strength of Lazarus’ emotion theory is in its conceptualization of emotions as the result of a person-environment relationship. Thus, the model embraces both individual and situational aspects. In other words, the model refers to emotions as traits and as states. Moreover, the model includes the adaptational effects of emotions, since it incorporates coping aspects. The weak point of the model is reflected in the appraisal components which do not clearly and fully narrow down the possible emotional outcomes to a particular emotion. For instance, appraisal components for both anxiety and anger may include the experience of threat to self- or social-esteem. Additionally, anger may not only occur due to threat to self- or social-esteem, but also due to threat to bodily integrity. In summary, Lazarus’ emotion theory has not yet been empirically tested concerning all of the appraisal components eliciting particular emotions. Therefore, it remains “something of a mystery” (Lazarus, 1991, p. 151) how and why a particular emotion arises. This is especially the case, as long as the appraisal process itself is not defined as either sequential or simultaneous. Nevertheless, the model stands for the successful application of a psychological stress theory to a person-environment theory of emotions.

2.6.2 Shyness, Anxiousness, and Angriness in Relation to
Extraversion, and Agreeableness


Presently, the most prominent system for the categorization of personality traits is the five-factor, or Big Five, model of personality (e.g., John & Srivastava, 2001). The Big Five model proposes that interindividual differences can be classified along five basic personality dimensions that are both broad (i.e., including a maximum spectrum of different traits) and efficient (i.e., managing this with a minimum set of dimensions). These personality dimensions were labeled as neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience (or intellect), agreeableness, and conscientiousness. Whereas openness to experience and conscientiousness are not directly relevant for the present studies, neuroticism, extraversion and agreeableness are well suitable for the categorization of shyness, anxiousness, and angriness. Neuroticism comprises traits like nervous, anxious, and emotional. Extraversion describes traits like gregarious, assertive, and outgoing. Agreeableness refers to traits like warm, conciliatory, and helpful.

According to the Big Five model, neuroticism, extraversion, and agreeableness are conceptualized as orthogonal, that is, uncorrelated factors. Thus, the factors describe a three-dimensional space that allows for the categorization of shyness, anxiousness, and angriness. Shyness represents a combination of neuroticism and introversion, that is, shyness correlates intermediately with both neuroticism and extraversion (cf. Asendorpf, 1989b). However, shyness is independent from agreeableness. Anxiousness is highly correlated with neuroticism, moderately correlated with introversion, and uncorrelated with agreeableness. In contrast, Angriness is highly negatively correlated with agreeableness and is weakly positively correlated with both neuroticism and extraversion (Ostendorf, 1990).

The correlation pattern of neuroticism, extraversion, and agreeableness with shyness, anxiousness, and angriness also informs about the correlations between shyness, anxiousness, and angriness. Thus, shyness and anxiousness are positively correlated because they are both correlated with neuroticism and introversion. In contrast, shyness and anxiousness do not correlate with angriness, because angriness is weakly correlated with extraversion and strongly correlated with agreeableness. The correlation pattern of shyness, anxiousness, and angriness facilitates the study of convergent and discriminant validity of direct, indirect, and behavioral measures. In particular, the comparison of shyness or anxiousness with angriness allows to estimate method-specific effects since these traits are expected to be uncorrelated at least at the level of direct questionnaire measures.


The present studies employed shyness, anxiousness, and angriness as traits under investigation in order to explore the similarities and the differences between the explicit and the implicit personality self-concept. In two Pilot Studies, a new indirect measure (the Implicit Association Procedures, IAP) was adapted to assess the implicit personality self-concept of shyness. Study 1 explored the convergent and discriminant validity between the shyness IAP, the shyness IAT, and direct shyness self-ratings for the prediction of shy behavior. Additionally, Study 1 contrasted the fakability of direct and indirect shyness measures. Study 2 investigated the convergent and discriminant validity of an anxiousness IAT and an angriness IAT for direct measures and for the prediction of anxious and angry behavior after emotion inductions. Study 3 explored further method-specific effects of the anxiousness IAT and the angriness IAT that were found in Study 2.

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