Implicit Association Test Experiment Software

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imageImplicit Association Test (IAT) is a psychological measure aimed at tapping into a person’s implicit mental attitudes towards a certain concept or issue. Greenwald, McGhee and Schwartz (1998) have led the way to the method that has now become widely used in many domains in social psychology and cognition.

The general basic IAT procedure is outlined in the 1998 paper with the following example :


which demonstrates the following 5 stages (p. 1466) :

  1. initial target concept discrimination.
  2. evaluative attribute discrimination.
  3. first combined task.
  4. reversed target-concept discrimination.
  5. reversed combined task.

the result is a measure that looks at the response time differences between the 3rd and the 5th stages and examines error rates between the two conditions.


One could think of many ways why this would be useful, and if you wish to play a little with the procedure and perhaps learn a thing or two about your mental associations and attitudes you can go to online projects like the Harvard Project Implicit.

Watch this next video for the IAT and racial issues:


I recently decided I’d like to play with this a bit and design my own association test, so I began looking at software options available for low-budget researchers, like myself. Turns out, there are a number of options to consider that do a fair job even in comparison to the commercial software packages.


Following are the options I found :


The FreeIAT was created to provide a free, open-source alternative to commercial software used to administered the Implicit Association Test. The FreeIAT is intended for Psychologists and others with professional training.


FLXLab is a very complex scripting software for psychology experiments. They provide rich documentation and script examples on how to design the IAT experiments :

This demo utilizes two separate scripts; make sure to run the one called master script.

The script allows you to control the order of the conditions; in order A the incongruent condition is completed before the congruent condition, while in order B the congruent condition is completed before the incongruent condition. Counterbalancing the order of the conditions allows you to control for any order effects.

There are five data files created for each participant, corresponding to three practice blocks and two experimental blocks (one for each condition). The data files ending in E1 are for the incongruent condition, and the data files ending in E2 are for the congruent condition.

The experiment is set up so that you can do your own IAT just by modifying the master script, the instruction files, and the stimuli files. You can display words, pictures or a mix as stimuli; see the file experimental1 stimuli for an example of how to set up the stimulus file to do this.

If you prefer running the IAT online for easier test administration and data collection, consider…

Online IAT

This is an open-source, web-based version of the Implicit Association Test (IAT; Greenwald, McGhee, Schwartz, 1998) that takes the category labels and items as input and outputs a file of all responses and response times.

[Updated 2012/01/02] Online IAT has been further developed and enhanced into WebIAT.

[Updated 2012/01/03] Turns out there’s another promising project called WebIAT which uses a DB. Sounds promising (introduction post).

[Updated 2013/01/19] Just saw Winter Mason present at SPSP the new version of the project at Github. Check it out.

[Updated 2013/01/25] Winter Mason’s SPSP slides are online :


PXLab is a collection of Java classes and applications for running psychological experiments. The PXLab system allows interactive design of a wide range of experiments from all areas of psychological research. It includes a run time control system which runs experiments under highly optimized timing constraints.


IAT for Qualtrics/HTML

[Added 2013/10/29] Seems like someone made an IAT version that fits into Qualtrics and can therefore easily run in MTurk.

But the code is a bit buggy and some report occasional missing data and problems, so beware.


[Update 2013/01/19] ScriptingRT was presented at SPSP2013.

[Update 2013/04/08] SPSP forums has an IAT script for PsychoPy.

[Update 2016/04/20] I now recommend QRTEngine for running IAT on Qualtrics.


My Choice

See Update 2016/04/20 above. The old choice was:

Online IAT and PXLab would be my choice but it would require that you know a bit about running things on a server and tempering with PHP and HTML file. The guides are quite basic.

If you really know your techie stuff, you can consider the much more advanced and well documented WebExp2 Experimental Software which is a freeware package for web-based studies. I’m not a 100% sure on how to set that up with IAT but browsing through the documentation I believe it’s quite possible.


Commercial IAT software packages

If you can afford something better or don’t mind software trial periods, you can consider the following options as well :

Edit (2011/11/14) : More on web experiment software can be found here.

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19 Comments on "Implicit Association Test Experiment Software"

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Hi, what would you recommend if I am trying to embed an IAT into a Qualtrics study? I have limited technical experienced but collaborate with people with more. Thank you!

Gilad Feldman

Sena – yeah, that’s tricky. I’ve actually done that, but it requires a great deal of technical expertise, with some HTML/PHP/JAVASCRIPT programming and an indepth knowledge of the Qualtrics mechanism i describe in the post here (passing on variables, embed variables, etc.). I would recommend using the WebIAT platform.

If you don’t have those skills my recommendation would be to get in touch with the Project Implicit people and see how to work with them.


None of these worked. When i downloaded them, I just got a load of files, like instruction pages, but not an actual application for it. Have I missed something?

Gilad Feldman

Rachel – you need to know a thing or two about how PHP/HTML/JScript server side applications work. you need a server or a host that supports those standards (probably your university tech staff can help), you then upload the files to the server and access the main index file through a web browser. Anyways, you need someone who knows about tech to help you with those.


Do you have a tutorial on how to do this?

I need to design my own IAT and preferably distribute it across the internet. Do you have any other suggestions on what I could use? I installed Inquisit and made a script for my IAT, is there anywhere that I can use this script for distribution over internet?

Gilad Feldman

Inquisit has a web version – but it costs money.

you could also try and contact project Implicit. . they are sometimes willing to collaborate with other researchers and they’ll take care of the technicalities for you.

there’s no tutorial you can read that will help you set that online IAT up if you’re not proficient with web development, which you obviously aren’t. better found someone who is.

good luck.


Hi, I have a basic question – but I thought you might be able to help. I’m designing a picture stimulus IAT with inquisit and can’t seem to upload images as stimuli – does anybody know how to do this? I have entered the file name by hand but I get a ‘don’t recognise file path’ message like this” / items = targetA / please verify that the target path xxxx is correct” (the file path is correct!)

Gilad Feldman

Emma – I suggest trying the Inquisit forums for help on these issues. I’m not an Inquisit expert, I’m afraid.


Hi, is it still necessary to use Greenwald et al., 2003’s SPSS syntax to analyze the reactions times gathered in these different ways? I’m assuming yes but wanted to make sure these methods do not include computations of the reaction times into d scores.

Gilad Feldman

Hi John, these are just data collection methods, not related to analyses.


Hi, I was wondering: did any of these software have the option of turning off the “wrong” or “right” answer factor? I want to use a version of this test that just allows participants to attribute a word into a category, and not force them to make “the right” choice? Is this possible programme wise? Is this theoretically possible within the use of an IAT? (as in, does the test loose its validity in such a format or something?)


Thanks for the information. I used the Online IAT. Now I am wondering if there is a possibilty to have a balanced design?
When I tried the same category came always first.

Anum Urooj
Hello This is Anum Urooj from La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. I’ve just started working, as a PhD student, in the area of homosexuality under the supervision of Dr. Arthur Stukas and co-supervision of Dr. Anthony Lyons. Specifically, my research is on “A Cross-cultural Examination of the Relationship between Implicit and Explicit Attitudes Towards Homosexuality, Self-concepts and Sexual Orientation Related Behaviours.” I’ve gone through your website and the available softwares. Could you please tell me that which software is the best for running Sexuality IAT? Moreover, can I construct a test of my own using these softwares? Your cooperation and… Read more »

QRTEngine has now discontinued Qualtrics support


I am hoping to run an online IAT as part of a larger experiment. I was wanting to use BOS online survey to collect data and then finish off asking participants to complete the my IAT so perhaps I would add a URL link at the end. Do you know if this is possible? If it is possible, which IAT is the best one to use?
Many thanks,